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The Points System Explained

Children can be very competitive and this can be used to the teachers advantage by giving or taking away points.

The primary role of this ESL point system in the classroom is to make learning fun and competitive, to reward ESL students that are well behaved and try hard, or that have a good level of English. It can also be used to encourage ESL students to try harder, especially students that are quite shy. It can also be used for students who are badly behaved, by taking away their their points or as a motivational tool.
The point system requires continual effort on the part of the teacher, but the rewards far out way the effort made.

The first step is to get every students name onto the board so that you are able to record the points along side them. The second step is to award some points, so that they have got “something to lose”. One way to do this, is by giving the students a point for bringing their pencil, another for bringing their book, another for bringing their workbook, another for bringing a rubber (eraser) and another for bringing anything else that is required of them. By doing this you will also be able to make sure that they bring their equipment to every lesson.

Drilling vocabulary and/or structures:

Drilling should first be done chorally, taking away points from students who do not take part. When you think that the students are getting the hang of it, you should then start drilling individually, going around the classroom. A point should be awarded to each student who says the target vocab. correctly. Do not take away points if the students are incorrect, as this will only serve to alienate the students.


When doing team activities, points should be awarded or taken away from the team and not the individual. At the end of the activity points can then be allocated individually. I usually give five points to each student in the winning team, three to the team that came second and one to the team that came last.

How many points?

It is advisable that you do not reward the students by giving them too many points. Care should be taken, to minimize board space for the recording of points. The best way to achieve this, is to use the 5 bar gate system (four lines down and one across). If a student misbehaves deduct points accordingly. Each class is different, so you will need to find your own medium and see what works best for you.

The student that just doesn’t care:

If you have a student who is not concerned about getting points, has had so many points deducted, or finds it amusing to deliberately lose points, then a good method is to take points away from all of the other students. Every time an individual talks or misbehaves deduct a point, by doing this,you will find that the other students help to maintain discipline by alienating the offender.

In the event of a draw:

1. The individuals concerned throw a dice.
2. Engage the use of mini-flashcards with given numbers on for students to pick at random.

3. Paper, stone, scissors.

4. By answering a question selected by the teacher.

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