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Reducing anxiety in young learners

3 Steps to Reduce Anxiety in Children in Class

As we know, a lot of young children easily get anxious or nervous when they come into a new environment or meet many new faces at the same time. Every child reacts differently to these situations. Some of them will keep as quiet as a mouse in class so much that you’ll wonder whether they can even talk or not, while some others will cry out hysterically. Be prepared for all the kinds of reactions and personalities you might encounter, so you won’t have an emotional break down on your first day! If you follow these three steps in class, things will go much smoother.

Step 1 – Create a safe and relaxing classroom environment.

A safe and relaxing environment, even if it’s totally new, will still comfort children. Go to your classroom ten minutes before class and arrange all seats and tables nice and neatly. Perhaps prepare some soft toys, cartoon videos or IWB activities for the children, especially for their very first class, which will help the children who are very sensitive to new circumstances to settle down. Also don’t forget to squat down and look into their eyes with your best smile to greet them, which will help them feel safer and more comfortable in their new class.

Step 2 – Set up the classroom routines and repeat them regularly.

Children rely on routines and predictability, which creates a feeling of security. Set up your classroom routines and repeat them every class to strengthen their familiarity, the children will get an idea of what they are going to do next and feel more comfortable in following you with great confidence.

Step 3 – Open communication with children and listen closely to them.

Many trivial things happen in every class, which may cause anxiety for children which adults may not consider. When you see a student feel anxious or disruptive in class, go sit next to them and talk patiently to them and listen closely to what they say instead of simply stopping or shouting at them. This will help you find out the underlying root of their misbehavior and may help solve the problem. You will also build a closer relationship with them by doing this.

There you have it, those are my 3 easy steps to reducing anxiety in young learners from your very first day as an ESL teacher.