Teaching effectively with limited resources!


Thousands of teachers across the globe teach in very humble classrooms that have nothing except blackboards, chalks, and tables, sometimes nothing at all. Obviously it is, difficult to teach with enthusiasm in such classrooms in this modern age; however, there are teachers who know how to cope with this situation as they have no other option but to devise their own ways and methods to adapt to the situation. Today there are various skills and techniques that can help teachers work effectively without all those materials that “modern classrooms” are equipped with. In this article, we are going to explore some useful tips and ideas that teachers can follow in order to teach well in very traditional settings.

Have friendly rapport with your students

When the teacher is liked and admired by his students’ chances are, his overall teaching practices will effectively work. in a friendly atmosphere, students will surely try their best to interact actively with their teacher and will compete between each other to respond and show their talents; the teacher in this atmosphere is required to give chance to every student to participate without forgetting to respond to their answers with positive feedbacks to encourage them. This will certainly smooth the process of teaching and learning and it can all be done through simple activities like mini-talks and discussions that will enable students to improve their communicative skills.

Among other things that can help teachers create this friendly rapport, we can cite:

  • Warm greetings at the beginning of every session.
  • Eye contact with a smile makes students feel more relaxed and comfortable.
  • An audible clear voice that captures the attention of all the attendants.
  • Addressing pupils by their names and never ever call someone by a name that he/she dislikes.
  • Reward students who excel in tasks, projects, and tests with prizes or extra marks.

These above tips should all be adopted by teachers regardless of what type of classrooms they teach in, but are strongly needed in teachers who lack basic school materials in order to shift the focus of all the class to the teacher’s talk and explanations and to each student’s contributions.

Exploit what’s available in your classroom, maybe just blackboard and chalk!

The truth is that there are students who love to go to the blackboard and write, I have witnessed this type of students myself, whenever I enter the classroom I find them there standing in front of the board writing whatever pops up into their minds, words, sentences, their favorite team clubs…etc. this clearly shows that students are still deeply connected with chalk and the board, teachers should exploit this by integrating “writing in the blackboard by students” in all activities; by doing so, students will become more confident and less stressed and will definitely improve their handwriting. It is also advisable for teachers to use colors to help students differentiate between new vocabulary, structures, quotes and so on.

Conducting contests in the classroom

Teachers can organize small contests of public speaking, writing, and reading in the classroom, these activities do not require any materials and are easy to conduct, they help break the routine of lessons and are much enjoyed by students especially if the winner is rewarded at the end. If time doesn’t allow for extra activities these contests can be integrated within the lessons. When planning these contests teachers should prepare the activities, questions with the same degree of difficulty or simplicity to provide equal opportunity for all the participants and not to be seen as favoring one group or one student over the other.

No photocopiers!

Many schools today lack photocopiers especially in the so-called “third world”; therefore teachers are required to look for other ways to solve this problem, and the best thing to do is to prepare large flip charts and tape them on the blackboard for the whole class to see, students then can copy the exercises or whatever is in the flipchart in their notebooks, It’s like having a worksheet in one’s table and copying from it.

Group work


This technique can help students interact well with each other with common school materials. But when doing activities with group work teachers should make sure that each individual has an exact role to play in order to prevent the excellent students from doing or dominating all the work and to make it more effective each Group shouldn’t exceed more than five or six students.

To sum up, when facing new environment and tough situations most teachers find ways out to adapt and excel, the reality always defines what approaches and techniques we should follow. The fact is that it’s not all about having internet, library, projectors … in the class, most of all it’s about being willing and determined to work and help students discover and reach new horizons with whatever you have in your hands.

Teaching Overcrowded Classes

One of the things that help teachers to teach effectively is having classes up to 20 students; this number of pupils really facilitates the process of teaching and learning.

  • But, what if we have no other choice except having more than 40 students in one small class?
  • Will be there any chance of success?
  • Will students in this type of classes be able to excel and achieve well like their counterparts in classes with fewer students?

I am one of those several teachers who are facing the problem of overcrowded classes.

group of school kids and teacher in classroom

Before delving into this topic, let me first describe to you the nature of the atmosphere inside these classes as I personally experienced it. When a class for example has one hour of English from 9:00 to 10:00 I usually start the warm up at 09:07, which means that five to seven minutes are always wasted waiting for the crowd to gather; moreover, it always takes me other minutes just to awaken their English and make them ready for the lesson.

Besides this, during the course I have to shout from time to time with my utmost to beg for silence, as you know too much talk and noise are hard to put up with especially that set of steps and activities need to be done. Another occasion where crowded classes appear uncontrollable is when conducting a group work activity, many teachers complain that just organizing the groups is a hard task to do and always say that the available time is not sufficient.

group of school kids writing test in classroom

The above mentioned aspects of crowded classes constitute a real challenge in front of the idea of time management, as a teacher I believe that there are solutions; once you experience an issue or a problem certainly you will find ways out. Teachers should be talented enough to know how to deal with such classes and use their time wisely and effectively and try hard to bring to class interesting activities that quickly raise the interest of students, because in a class of more than 40 students all the time we find each two or four students are engaged in talks and matters that they did or are going to do, here the teacher needs to talk about things that are more exciting than students’ own concerns so as to diverge their attention to the lesson.

Another tip might be helpful to overcome the problem of time is by adding some extra hours to these students in order to support them to study and learn more; simultaneously, this will prove to them that you really care about them and be sure that they will show you more respect and gratitude in return.

On the other hand, crowded classes aren’t that big and frightening problem. There are some advantages of teaching crowded classes. For example; teachers can organize outside school activities in which lot of students are needed, like doing voluntary work in other institutions and public spaces or assigning students to do presentations for public speaking club.

Active games for many kids

To sum up, when there is a will there is a way.

Teaching overcrowded classes is a challenge but at the same time a rewarding task, as it helps teachers to acquire new skills on how to manage classes like this, as well as having the chance to support and teach lot of students which is in itself a bless.