This blog post by the one and only Michael Linsin, whom I have been following since 2013, is exactly what I have been looking for to back up my action plan to stop those misbehaved talkers in my EFL class.
How is it possible that fourteen-fifteen-year-old young ladies get fully distracted in class talking about the dress, make-up and costs of what they are going to wear in their next fifteen-birthday party? It has always been that way! We, women are too much focused on our physical appearance, they way we will get dressed and how we will look: nails done, new hair-do or hair-style, fancy dress...This is US!. That is the way I was at that age but I would have never thought of going so beyond the limits of class behavior!.
The situation was a very common characteristic in a class where young ladies rule, frequently lead the group, help the teacher in anything they can, and even volunteer to do extra work, but, at the same time, they get out of control and off the limits of side talking disrupting class activities. The consequences must be clear and fair to everyone in the class from day one, which they were but unfortunately forgotten too frequently because they get over-excited. If the teacher models the behavior, it can be taken like sarcastic joke or disrespect, which really was not my intention and Michael Linsin´s article explains why. Why the students feel disrespected when they are told they are not exercising self-control and behave within the classroom rules limits?.
Is it right to be chatting during a listening comprehension exercise which is really constructive and valuable for the whole class as they have little exposure to the target language on a daily basis?. Well, apparently, the presence of the educator nowadays is not as strong as it should be. Students can complain about whatever they consider unfair, impolite or discourteous. How about them? Have they ever been asked to reflect on their disrupting behavior? They certainly have!, by me of course, and by some other teachers leading to several talks with the Guidance Department.
There is no doubt that they learned very little or they have not developed their sense of respect towards their classmates and the benefit of being in an foreign language class where the academic performance is expected to be achieved at a high level, where the huge goal: to sit international English exams so that they get a certificate together with their secondary school diploma.
How can I qualify this incident? Disappointing? Not appreciative of my dedication and care? I can say both. Why is it so common in our society to make the negative aspects more relevant than the good actions?. I will keep sending congratulation notes home as well as warning ones for not achieving the goals of the class. In the long run, I am sure time will tell the truth and be fair enough with my devotion as it has always had.