Teacher Tip – How the Simplest Trick Can Be Most Effective

Using a countdown in class is a basic way to regain control. While for many of us this may be an obvious technique, I recently had a teaching assistant who was amazed by its power so I decided to break it down.

When your class aren’t listening, sometimes counting down from five or ten can get them under control. I’m not sure what the students think will happen if they are still talking by the time you reach zero, but for some reason, it works!

You can use this effect to greater advantage if you explain to your class what is expected of them at different numbers. Here are some examples:

In the classroom.

10 – stop talking.

5 – finish your final sentence.

1 – pencils down.

0 – all students silent and looking at the teacher.

In the theatre.

10 – stop the action.

8 – ensure everyone knows what they need to do.

5 – sit in your group.

0 – all students silent and looking at the teacher.

Let us know how this technique works for you!

Rebecca is the founder and chief executive officer of Silly Fish Learning Ltd. She is a children's playwright with a vast and varied career in education, primarily teaching drama and English.

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