How do I keep my class focussed for the whole hour? How do I have a class with no classroom management issues? What do I do if the class starts to look bored or not interested? And ‘How do I deal with the child with ADHD or special needs to keep them engaged? These are all common questions that get asked in the Zenergy teacher training courses and yes, knowing how to run classes and deal with behaviour is important, but HOW you teach and the skills you employ to be the most engaging and inspiring teacher are just as important.
Welcome to the fifth tip in this blog series on how to get started as a children’s yoga teacher.
I hope you find it useful and valuable on your journey to impacting the lives of children and teens.
Tree pose is more than Tree pose when teaching yoga to children and teens.
Many poses are taught at all ages – cat, down dog, cobra, child’s pose, warrior I and II for example. But HOW you teach these to the different age groups will determine whether they will be fully involved in the class and participate or not.
How you teach Tree pose to a 4 year old will be very different to how you teach it to an eight year old or a seventeen year old.
Many of you will be thinking, for younger kids we go faster and use more stories and for the older ones, we are more serious and slower. But that isn’t true. Teach like that and you will have cranky kids and bored teenagers: both a recipe for disaster!
In order to be engaging, it’s how you say it, the wording you use, your body language, your tone, pitch, pace, volume, excitement, pace, punctuation and unpredictability.
Zenergy graduates learn the skills to have the class fully engaged and hanging on their every word for the entire class. At the Advanced and Mastery courses we practice this in detail so you are confident ton teach whatever age group is pulling at you and know you will be awesome!
Having the skills to be dynamic and engaging makes the difference between a normal yoga class for kids, a chaotic yoga class for kids or a yoga class taught by a teacher who knows how to control the class and leads them from fun to deep stillness, holding every child’s attention throughout.
The teens, especially, need more engagement than in an adult’s class. Attention spans of teens are between 1 1/2 – 3 minutes. What are you going to do every 3 minutes to regain their attention?
If you ‘talk ‘ at your class for more than 3 sentences without engaging them, their attention will wander and when you lose children and teen’s attention, what do they do? Yes, they chat or misbehave.
Here are my Top Tips for engaging your classes:
Grab children’s attention right from the very beginning of the class. This includes how you use body language, voice and words.
Have variety of activities throughout the class.
Use variety in your delivery to maintain focus and engagement.
Build a strong presence, so you have control and command of your class from start to finish.
You lead the class at all times, rather than having the class or one student lead and control the class.
Use music, songs, games and partner work for fun : but keep control of the class.
Make sure to keep the attention and focus of tweens and teens when holding poses.
Have smooth transitions from one segment of the class to another and from one pose to another.
Use language that inspires and motivates the tweens and teens.
Walk around the room when teaching, to keep your presence in the room and maintain energy, command and connection.
Have your body language and voice become a tool for engagement and classroom management.
Give instructions in a way that they are listened to and followed.
Set up fun activities, use partner work, group games while maintaining full control of the room.
Increase pace, volume, energy and enthusiasm to hold attention or regain focus when the students are looking bored.
Keep voice volume up, but tone soft during a relaxation to maintain control but at the same time drop them into a deep place of inner quiet.
I highly recommend you learn ‘HOW’ to teach children and teens before embarking on your first children’s yoga class and especially if you want to build classes or a future career teaching kids and teens. You will learn all of this at the Advanced course: how to engage, captivate, motivate and inspire in your teaching. I hope to see you at one of the upcoming courses.
The more you become a dynamic, engaging and inspirational teacher, the more enjoyable the class will be, the more you will hold attention spans, the less issues will happen in your classes and your business will build, because they will want to come back every week!