Benito Vacio

Individualized instruction

How to 'reward' students who finish work on time

Having been used to teaching students in bigger classes, I would require everyone to pay attention to me whenever I taught.


I would demand students to give me all their eyes and ears to make them learn effectively from me. I was teacher-centered and I got so irritated with the little distraction they would make. I felt I was a security guard checking on every student's behavior such that I felt so tired and frustrated at the end of the day when I failed to accomplish my goals.

When I taught in a private school in Chiangmai, I had the opportunity to handle kindergarten 1 and 2 students in the English program. They were so adorable 3 and 4-year-olds with very low attention span and were quite difficult to sustain their interest. So wanting to be effective with these kinds of kids, I thought of better ways of handling and teaching them. One time my assistant teacher was teaching our students one by one. I noticed our students were doing well and I told myself, why not try it too.

So one day, I tried giving task to the class. While the rest of the students were working I called individual students to work with me. It was very relaxing. The class was very busy and quiet and the student I worked with was focused on what I asked him/her to do.

Good ideas

So when I left that school, I brought this idea with me. I did it whenever my students had oral recitation, when they copied something, when they were doing seatwork, or when I spotted a number of students needing individual assistance.

I would provide coloring or writing activities which students would do while I worked with someone. In other occasions I would assign those who finished their work to play word games, play interactive games on my touch screen computer, or simply watch an English video. In fact most students were encouraged to finish their work so that they could do what their fast classmates were doing.

Benefits to students

Individualized instruction meets the needs of individual students. With it, a large number of students are benefitted and are given the necessary treatment and assistance especially those with special needs. When special students' needs are addressed they feel a sense of accomplishment.

With advance students, they get the feeling of success too and so overwhelmed doing other activities as a reward for accomplishing the task ahead of time Because of this, disciplinary problems are minimized. Why? It's because everybody is busy. One more thing, students know immediately the result of their work.


I have been privileged to handle small classes with 17 students as the biggest and 6 as the smallest. So, if I have the opportunity to individualize my teaching, I do it. I will call one student to my seat, check his/her work, make the student change his/her answer when it is wrong, and receive extra work or reward.

Fast or slow students enjoy this but I enjoy it more because I am relieved from attending to disciplinary problems which students may cause, I have helped individual students, and I have made their learning less stressful and most of all a tremendous success.

Why don't you try it in your class.



Thanks a lot Joy, for your generous comment. Yes, our students move us to do what is best for them. We shouldn't give up despite disappointments. What a joy to have when we are able to make a significicant change in them.

By Benito Vacio, Nonthaburi (8th January 2016)

Sir Ben is definitely one of the best sources of effective teaching techniques. I witnessed how he got and maintained the attention of his hard-to-handle students (those in very low sections, most of them overage for the grade level). He introduced serious lessons in fun ways, thus, avoiding the boredom which students usually experience.

By Joy, Philippines (28th December 2015)

Thanks, Aida. Your encouraging comments will inspire me to write good blogs fr the sake of my fellow teachers and readers. Merry Christmas.

By Benito Vacio, Nonthaburi. (20th December 2015)

Sir, I am truly enjoying your blogs! What you have here are real time experience in teaching. Wow, what an incredible and doable way of handling a class indeed! Thank you for sharing.

By Zenaida Bansag, Thailand (15th December 2015)

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