Getting your students back on track after summer vacation

No matter how many tips and tricks you're aware of, the back-to-school season always seems stressful, right? Well, transitions can be tough for all students. Even if the students are excited, chances are they are also sluggish, nervous or unruly. 

That's why you need these last-minute suggestions for reinspiring English learners and getting them back in the groove after summer holidays. Keep reading and by the time September rolls around, you'll be ready to get your students back on track and keep them enthusiastic about learning English!

➡️ Make it positive

The back-to-school season can be a real bummer for some students! But creating a welcoming classroom and a positive atmosphere spurs creativity and helps us all to feel more motivated to learn. So, what can you do?

First of all, rethink your classroom design and choose a seating arrangement that will encourage your students to learn. For example, you could create a horseshoe-shaped formation or flexible clusters. Seating plans can make or break even the best of classes! And remember that although you're all getting back into a routine, you can always try something new to shake things up. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference in a classroom environment. For example, adding a splash of colour in a classroom or creating a reading and educational board games nook can make a classroom much more interesting. So, before another school year starts, follow our advice and find out how you can create a happy place for all learners!

In addition, a positive classroom atmosphere can be easily achieved if your students start building a close rapport with one another. So, make it much easier for them. Don't ask them to write the classic essay on how they spent their summer holidays. Instead, encourage your young English learners to write a short bio or have a discussion about their hobbies and find 2 or more classmates they have something in common with. For older learners, a class debate is a great idea that can always get everyone talking. And if you provide private English language lessons, establish a close rapport with your students by sharing some fun or unusual facts about yourself!

A catchy classroom cheer is also a great way to create a positive classroom atmosphere and promote a strong sense of togetherness. Well, if you've ever been a member or a supporter of a competitive team, then you know that a good cheer can inculcate a really powerful sense of team spirit!

➡️ Take it slow

If you want to get your students comfortable with using English again, take baby steps. Your learners can't be in holiday mode one day and then totally back in business! That's why you shouldn't dive into hard and challenging projects straightaway. Pick up the pace slowly and let your students become more prepared to tackle tough exercises without feeling overwhelmed. For example, why not have your young learners work together on a project on their summer experiences and unforgettable moments?

The first homework assignment should also be an interesting one. Nothing hurts motivation more than the thought of a boring, lengthy essay! And bear in mind that focusing on group work rather than individual assignments can make any homework better since students have an opportunity to interact with each other and get excited about being back at a language school.

➡️ Make it fun

A few unexpected activities that are full of good vibes can spark your students' interest in learning again!  So, why not try a quiz or brain teasers? For example, most youngsters would love to take a quiz to decide which artist needs to come and give your language school a total makeover

And have you ever thought that you could use Instagram to take English teaching to the next level? Cool, right? People often say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, maybe a picture on Instagram can also help your young students to learn a thousand words! Create a fun educational account and start sharing smart learning tips and tricks, grammar rules, useful vocabulary and fun idioms! A great idea for older students is a class social media account – an account created by both you and your students. In this way, your English learners will also learn how to use social media responsibly! 

You could also use crossword puzzles, educational board games for children or adventurous games for teenagers and adults to add a little bit of unexpected fun and an element of competition! And don't forget to put some things that your students will look forward to on the calendar.

Last but not least, bear in mind that a project or activity with real-world applications is always a good idea, as students are excited to learn something they can easily put into practice.

➡️ Put it in order

Encourage your English learners to get organised. Provide your young students with a simple checklist/to-do list or a small planner as a reminder of anything important, e.g. test dates and deadlines for homework assignments. And don't forget that colours, post-it notes and stickers may have more power than you think! For teenagers and adults that use smartphones, there are many apps that can become great tools with useful to-do lists and reminders.

In addition, you should motivate all your English learners to learn how to avoid procrastinating (admit it, we've all been there; most students seem to be predisposed to procrastination!). Explain that planning ahead, creating a routine and setting rules (e.g. always start studying for a test 10 days in advance) can help them stress less. Teaching time management strategies also helps a lot. And being familiar with a few relaxation techniques that can reduce stress when your students get the jitters may work wonders!

If you are trying to come up with more ideas for inspiring and motivating your students, take a look at these proven and winning strategies for motivating English learners.

So, the big day is nearly here. 

Are you ready for the new school year? 

If you have anything you’d like to add to this list, share your thoughts, ideas and tips in the comments below. And if you're looking for more smart tips and useful advice for the new school year, stay tuned for more #backtoschool smart tips and useful ideas!

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