Friday, August 23, 2013

The dominant one

Yeap, we all have one of them, you know, the student with all the answers, the one who happily shouts out the answer to the question sometimes before you even ask it! Now, in an EAP class, a class full of adults who are usually post grads students dealing with the dominant student can be a tough cookie. I used a few EFL tricks in this case.
So, how do you deal with the dominant student?
Well, firstly, the easiest way is to actually nominate another student. Ask individual students questions and avoid addressing the whole class.
Paperclips: The idea is you give each student some paper clips and tell them that they have to use the paper clips during an activity. Each time the student speaks, he hands in a paper clip. That way your dominating student will only speak a few times and the rest of the ss will also have to contribute to the conversation/task.If you do not like paper clips, then you can use pieces of paper, postit notes or whatever you wish.
Paper boards: This is quite fun! In order to know everyone is on task, give them a sheet of paper. ask a question and tell them to write the answer on their paper board. When everyone has finished, ask them all to show you their board. That way everyone answers your question. The limitation here is that you cannot use this paper board when you are practicing a long turn and it is not very practical during speaking tasks.
Group/work/pair work also make this problem less evedent and you could always ask your dominant student to be the teacher for a few minutes and ask questions instead of answer them!
It is hard when this happens in an adult class so I still find this quite challenging...