Teaching Languages? Buckle Up, It's a Wild Ride!


Have you ever felt like you're leading a pack of chatty monkeys rather than a group of eager language learners?

Trust me, I've been there too.

Side conversations during language lessons can turn your well-planned class into a chaotic zoo.

But fear not!

I've got some wild and witty strategies up my sleeve to help you tame those chatty beasts and bring the focus back to the language-learning adventure.

So, grab your safari hat, and let's dive in!

1. Set Clear Expectations: The Law of the Jungle

Picture this: You're standing in front of a group of students, ready to embark on a linguistic expedition, when suddenly, side conversations erupt like a monkey party.

To avoid this mayhem, establish clear and explicit expectations right from the beginning.

It's like setting the laws of the jungle, but with a touch of humor.

Explain to your students the importance of focus, active participation, and respectful communication.

Tell them that in your language-learning kingdom, the golden rule is "No side conversations allowed!"

Let's face it, even the wildest beasts need some boundaries.

2. Engage Students Actively: The Hunt for the Lost Attention

Imagine you're on a quest to find the lost treasure of language fluency.

To succeed, you need to keep your students engaged, for if they wander off into side conversations, they'll be lost in the thick jungle of distraction.

So, how can we enthrall these budding adventurers?

Make your language lessons interactive and dynamic!

Use various teaching methods such as group discussions, pair work, role-plays, and hands-on activities.

Turn the classroom into an adventure park where language learning becomes a thrilling rollercoaster ride.

When students are active participants in the lesson, they'll be too captivated to engage in side chats.

3. Use Visual Cues: The Magic Show

Abracadabra! It's time to pull out some magical tricks to grab your students' attention.

Visual cues can work wonders when it comes to stopping side conversations in their tracks.

Raise your hand like a magician casting a spell, make eye contact, or maybe even develop a quirky gesture that signals "Stop! No more monkey business!"

The beauty of these non-verbal cues is that they communicate without saying a word.

Your students will be fascinated by your mystical powers to redirect their attention, and before they know it, they'll be under your spell, focused on the language lesson.

4. Implement Pair and Group Work Effectively: The Lion's Den

Pair and group work can be a roaring success for language learning, but it can also become a breeding ground for side conversations.

To prevent these chatty cubs from running wild, we need to create a controlled environment.

Assign specific roles to each group member, like the leader, the scribe, or the timekeeper.

This way, everyone has a responsibility, and they'll be too busy playing their roles to engage in side talks.

As the language teacher, take on the role of the vigilant lioness, circling the classroom and keeping a watchful eye on your pride.

By monitoring their progress and behavior, you'll ensure that the language lesson remains a focused and collaborative space.

5. Address Side Conversations Directly: The Ranger's Duties

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, side conversations can still sneak their way into our language lessons.

But fear not!

As a language teacher, you're the mighty ranger of the classroom.

It's your duty to restore order and peace.

If you notice those sneaky side chats happening, address them directly and promptly.

But here's the trick: do it with a touch of finesse.

Use a calm and assertive approach to remind your students of the classroom expectations and redirect their attention back to the lesson.

Remember, humor is your secret weapon.

A witty comment or a humorous remark can do wonders in bringing the focus back.

It's like a language lesson intervention, minus the drama!



You've survived the wild adventure of taming side conversations during language lessons.

By setting clear expectations, engaging students actively, using visual cues, implementing effective pair and group work, and addressing side conversations directly, you've transformed your classroom into a well-orchestrated safari.

So, put on your safari hat, embrace the chaos, and remember to sprinkle a dash of humor along the way.

With these strategies, you'll become the language teacher who fearlessly leads their students through the untamed jungle of language learning, all while keeping side conversations at bay.

Happy Comprehensible Input!

Key Takeaways:

  1. Set clear expectations: Establish clear rules and expectations from the beginning to create a focused learning environment.
  2. Engage students actively: Keep lessons dynamic and interactive to captivate students' attention and minimize side conversations.
  3. Use visual cues: Non-verbal signals can help redirect students' attention and remind them to stay on task.
  4. Implement effective group work: Assign specific roles to each group member to keep them engaged and minimize distractions.
  5. Address side conversations directly: Promptly and assertively address side conversations, using humor when appropriate, to redirect focus back to the lesson.

Remember, creating a positive and engaging atmosphere will make your language lessons an enjoyable and productive experience for both you and your students.

Have you taken our CI Proficiency Quiz yet? Find out where you are in your CI journey towards mastery. What are you waiting for?