After 12 years in business, Dave and I think we have hit upon the best way to do trial lessons. Before I outline what we do, I will say what we don’t do and why. All of what we DON’T do, we DID do for years. BUT we changed to our current system 5 years ago and haven’t gone back.
2. We don’t allow children to join in lessons for 1 or 2 months for free or at a reduced rate because:
3. What we DO do is trial lesson lessons (either solely or with other trial lesson students of the same level) . This is the way it works:
In the trial lesson, I will:
* Greet the child/ parents warmly and direct them where to sit // put their bags.
* Check names, ages….
* Give them a list of lessons that they can join after the trial. Include on the list how many spaces in the class are available (1 space left—-better join now) Showing parents the list before the trial is super important. Have the parents thinking straight away about what day/ time they want to join. Many times, parents have already decided they want to join our school and when I give them the list, they say (before they trial has begun), Airi will join the Monday 4:00. And if they don’t already know which class they want, then they can be thinking during the trial when is good.
A few notes:
This individual treatment does take time—-but the benefits are:
We don’t offer discounts for joining on the day. I want students joining because they want to join, not because they feel pressured to make a decision. I find 90 % of trial lesson students sign up anyway. Most do sign up on the day, but a few will think about it and call in the next week.
If you have any questions or comments, please write.
Amy (Dave and Amy)
Organization is really important. A well organized classroom helps teachers quickly locate level appropriate activities/ flashcards… There is less wasted time searching for a good activity. And less teacher mistakes: choosing too easy or too difficult activities for the class. Your students will learn more and be more confident in a well organized classroom.
At Dave and Amy English School, our classroom activities are organized by level and color. Level is the child’s reading level. So kids on My English Book and Me 3 (a single letter book) might be doing activities from the 3L section because they can read 3 letters and longer (despite only being able to write single letters). Likewise, the higher level kinder might be doing Single Letter activities because they are preparing for reading and writing.
Kinder activities are pink (same as My English Book and Me 1) labeled Kinder. In this section, we have puzzles that we use at the beginning of class, picture bingos and picture books (lots of movable parts Maisy books) to read as a whole class.
After the Kinder Section, we have the Single Letter area: colored yellow (to go with the My English Book and Me 3) and labeled SL. In this area, we have alphabet puzzles, alphabet books (like Alphabet Starters) and single letter flashcards. We also have question cards that correspond with the question and answers in the MEB1 book.
Next is the 3 Letter section: colored green (to go with My English Book and Me 4) and labeled 3L. By 3L, I mean Consonant Vowel Consonant words, such as cat, fix…. as well as longer phonetic words like hospital, batman… Again, we have corresponding puzzles, books, flashcards, bingos and question cards that are appropriate for the 3L area.
After that, we have the Blends area: colored purple to go with MEB5 (coming soon) and labeled BL. And then the higher level sections: Red for MEB6 and Blue for MEB7. We are in the process of making these books. However, we already know the words, grammar structures and questions/ answers that will be in the books, so have filled these areas with level appropriate materials.
Finally, the texts, question cards and reading books for the high level returnee, Jr High School and High School kids. This section is not color coded. But we have each text, CD and accompanying files in their own boxes. With higher level kids we use the English File series.
Not only does an organized classroom help teachers choose appropriate activities quickly, it helps with quick clean up because every activity is color coded and labelled. Teachers can quickly locate where each activity should be placed.
How do you handle criers?
Let's begin with my first experience with criers. 20 years ago, when I first came to Japan, I had naively/ optimistically/ stupidly (call it what you like) agreed to teach 10 new 3 year olds with no Moms, no other teachers. It was a disaster. As soon as the Moms left, 3 children burst into tears, crying loudly. 2 others soon joined. 1 even wet his pants. But the other 5 children were fine. I decided that I could do nothing about the criers on my own. But I could keep the other 5 from joining the crying group by singing, dancing, playing games..... And it worked. The 5 non criers never cried. And some of the criers saw that we were having fun and joined us.
Over 20 years of teaching at Dave and Amy English School (www.daveandamyenglish.com), we have developed a few policies to pre-empt/ handle criers:
Prevention is the key. Hopefully, with the following 2 points, you can pre-empt any crying:
But, if your prevention techniques did not work and you have a crier, try these steps:
We have found that with the above policies, most children DO NOT CRY. And the ones that do, will stop in 5 minutes. Good luck,
Dave and Amy