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Classroom Management: Fishing Analogy


You are a fisherman.


The classroom is the pier. Water depth varies, and you know there are various types of fish to catch there. However, to catch certain species, line length will need adjusting, bait will need changing at times, different poles may even be needed to reach out farther, and if conditions are not favorable you will have to go to the other side of the pier.


You are determined to catch some fish or there will be no dinner. Some fish need to be reeled quickly, others slow and steady. The different fish species are the students.


As of late, the term "ALT" is not used so much anymore, and we are more than likely to be called Foreign Language Teachers (FLT). In other words, being the "main" teacher and able to manage and control the class in order to have a successful lesson. The definition of a successful lesson here means that we do your best to make a fun and enjoyable lesson for all, if not some, of the students. They are your 'catch'.


Going back to various species of fish, we have: eager, bored, active, receptive, sleepy, well-behaved, misbehaved, tired, annoying, disruptive, violent, docile, sharp, slow... anything missing? Feel free to add your species of fish to the list. Regardless of species, they are all 'edible', and we should try to reach out to them.


The job as an FLT seems quite simple. Go in and conduct fun and memorable lessons in English however, it is not as easy as it sounds. If only there was one type of fish in the ocean! That would make it much easier for all. But we know that is not the reality of fishing at a pier with twenty plus fish at different water depths.


As a fisherman, you should be able to manage the fishing, no matter what types of fish, water, and weather condition:


-Adjusting line length- Adjusting your teaching to fit all levels of students, no matter where they seated.

-Changing the bait- Use and change instruction and language to fit the class.

-Different poles- Games and activities.

-Pier position- Move around the class instead of standing at the front all the time.

-Reeling speed- judging language drilling time and amount.

-Water depth and weather condition- class mood, student levels.


The success of the fishing depends on your approach. Do not be afraid to change fishing style if you think it will enable more catches for the day. As for discipline, have you ever gone fishing and there are fish that do not want to bite the hook? Usually, after a little extra effort, if they still do not want to bite, letting them swim away for the day and trying to catch the ones that want to bite is the easiest option for a fisherman. Do not waste time and effort trying to catch that one particular fish. The best fishermen are those who use a huge trawler to catch them all in one go.


Be mindful, every day the fish, water, and weather will not be the same. Adapt your techniques and you will find that you are able to catch a whole lot more. Happy fishing!

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