Everything Off in your English Language Classroom

How To Teach English

A woman alone in a bare classroom.Students, especially young ones, are easily distracted. And sometimes, especially with bigger classes, while you are standing at the front talking, the students at the back are reading a book, doing their homework, doodling or otherwise not listening to you.

This is a very simple tip to make sure there are fewer distractions in class and the students pay more attention to you, thus helping keep discipline‏‎ in your TEFL class.

Quite simply if you need to explain something or have the students’ complete attention for a few minutes, call out Everything Off! and have them clear their desks completely. No books, pens, phones, paper or anything is left out; it’s all in their school bags.

Wait until every single desk is empty then begin. The students now have nothing in front of them to distract from you!

To begin with it may take the students a few times to get used to this; it may even take a few minutes before all the desks are empty. But after a while it will become the norm and if you make clearing the desks into a bit of a competition (e.g. “Today’s Super Fast Desk Student award goes to…”) then it happens even faster!


Sometimes you will find that students haven’t done their homework before class. It often happens that as you are taking register or explaining something at the front of the class, they are busily scribbling away at the back of the class so they have something (however rubbish) to turn in when you ask for their homework.

By using the Everything Off! rule, they won’t be able to do this. After a while they will understand that they simply won’t have the opportunity to do their homework in class and so they have to do it beforehand.

An added bonus of this tip!

Image © Pollobarba


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