Depending on the type of class you teach, you may be someone who recruits students for your classroom and/or program.
This can be challenging, and depends on a lot of factors. Here are some ideas to get more students in your classroom, eager to learn.
Make Your Class Full Using These 5 Tips
Get the Word Out
From blogging to tweeting to good old fashioned canvassing the neighborhood on foot, getting the word out is important to increasing your student population. Putting flyers up in local businesses and high traffic areas is always a good idea. Please ask for permission first if necessary. Emailing leaders in the community who you know may come in contact with your target audience is a good idea as well. If you know that a lot of parents of students in a local school may want ESL classes, email a contact person in that school to let them know about your class. They may have a community liaison with whom you can work to get the word out. Put the information up on your own social media sites and ask friends to share. Start a blog, Facebook page or start using Twitter to let others know about your ESL class. If there is a very common language of the potential ESL students in your area, you may want to have the advertisements in that language, if possible.
Eat, Drink and Learn English
Whether you have already begun the school year, or are still in the planning stages, it is a good idea to plan an event with a party-like atmosphere. This can be holiday-themed or you can use a recent theme as a topic. For example, if you have had several classes on cooking and kitchen vocabulary, you could bring in the various cooking utensils and have the students prepare simple no-cook dishes to enjoy together. When doing this, make sure that you get the word out, through the news channels your class has available. Also, please take great care with being aware of food allergies when involving food in a class. This is a very serious matter. If the class consists of children, you must have the parents sign off on the ingredients of all food involved and make sure it is all safe for your class. Anyone new visiting that session could be a potential new student.
Your Class Has Talent
This can be a great event if you have some outgoing students in your class. Let the class know you would like to have a talent show in English. This must be planned several weeks or months in advance. You will need to first take a survey and see if you have enough interest in the class. If you are fortunate enough to have done this type of event before, you can show the class a DVD of the performance, or even have a former participant come and talk to the class about it. If you have enough interest, let the students know what types of formats are acceptable and how long the act should be. Have them “audition” for you. Of course, you will allow them all to perform. If you feel that their act is not appropriate or needs some assistance, you will need to provide that support. They may sing, do a skit, recite a poem or anything they have learned in English. If any adult student has children who speak English, this would be a great way for them to help. Make sure you advertise your show well in advance in the community as much as possible. A nominal fee may be charged to go to the charity of your choice. Also, if your program gets little or no money, this may be your chance to raise money for books or materials. The talent show can be a fun night that draws in potential new students. Be sure to talk up the class during the show. Most likely, you will be the emcee so there will be plenty of chance for you to advertise!
Have a Guest Speaker
Having a guest speaker on a popular topic in your target community can be a great way to get new potential students into your classroom. This may be a time when you would want the speaker to be bilingual in one of the predominant languages of your community, as there may be information he would need to communicate in that way. Some ideas for speakers would be: someone from a local bank to speak about banking, someone from a local health clinic to speak about services offered or someone from the local police station to speak about safety and the community’s relationship with the police. All of these topics are usually popular ones. If you have a population who works in the business world, you may want someone to come in and speak about local business etiquette. Any of these talks should be widely advertised, even through local public schools and community forums. Usually, a session like this would be free of charge and provided as a service to the community. A byproduct could be additional interested students. Be sure to talk a little about your English program before and after the speaker.
Get the word out that you are having an open house for your program. Again, use community channels and make sure to hang up those good, old fashioned signs where permitted. Start the session by saying a few words to explain the program. If possible, have some of your more confident students prepare a few words that they could say at the open house about your program and how it helps them. If you are in touch with any former students, this could be an opportunity for them to speak as well. Be sure to consider having someone speak in the predominant native language in the community so that potential students may understand the direction of the program. Have materials available for their perusal. Have some light refreshments as well. Finally, make sure to have someone available to sign up the potential new students for your class.
Getting new students in the door can be a challenge depending on your situation.
The key, as you can see through these ideas, is actually to get them through the door for some reason, and let them see the how the program works. This is often the biggest obstacle to getting that new student to sign up. Be sure to use these activities to get new students into your class.