My tutors on my CELTYL were really focused on this aspect of the class. They made us think about the type of activity, specifically how the students would react by it. We classified activities as ‘stirrers’ and ‘settlers’. When planning classes we would alternate activities so that students would get stirred up and excited, the next activity settled them down. The benefit of this planning meant that students didn’t get too excited, if an activity was getting the students too wound up, you can finish up, and move on, confident that the next activity will calm them down.
Activities that can be used to stir students up are typically games – flashcards, fly swats, hide and seek activities. These will all excite students and should be considered as stirrers. Settlers would be thought of as worksheets, listening activities, or reading activities.
Benefits of making considerations of excitement management are plentiful. Young learners are often bored easily, stirrers can be designed and implemented when a class is slowing down. I have difficulty sitting in a chair for any length of time, I think it’s unfair to think a student can sit in a chair for a whole lesson. Stirrers provide an important respite and allow English language teachers a chance to have some fun whilst still considering any language aims of the class.
With more challenging students or very young learners, who do find it difficult to concentrate for any length of time, excitement management is a great approach to get the most out of, and control the classes behaviour.