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Language Teaching Strategies - Establishing Entry & Exit Routines

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Classroom procedures form routines that help students meet the expectations stated in the rules. Routines must be taught, practised and reinforced consistently to be effective in the classroom. The ultimate goal of teaching routines is for students to become self-managing, with less and less need for teachers prompting and assistance over time.

As language teachers, we often feel short on time. There is no mandatory requirement on the study time of a language program offered in primary schools in Australia. It usually falls between 30mins and 1 hour, depending on the school. This is simply not enough. While the 100-hour study over one continuous 12-month period is mandatory between Years 7-10, there is inevitably an amount of time lost due to the interruption of school events, like camps, carnivals and other unavoidable co-curricular activities, throughout the year. The clock is ticking. How can we make every second of the lesson count? How can we maximise students learning? How can we train students to be ready and to be active learners?

Let's talk about establishing workable routines for entering and exiting the language classroom. Students need to switch on their language learning mode before entering the language room. We, as language teachers, also need to be prepared and to plan ahead.

Entry Routine

Entering the classroom in a proper, carefully designed and organised way helps to set the tone for the lesson.

There should be a set of guidelines regarding the noise level at which students enter the classroom, where they should move to without having to talk to each other, and what they should be doing once they reach their seat. Teaching and practising these procedures consistently help develop a routine that ensures the learning time is maximised and students are ready for learning from the starting point.

Before introducing a procedure, here are some questions teachers need to consider:

Entry Routine

Exit Routine

As important as the entry routine, having and maintaining a developed exit procedure ensures that students can calmly, effectively, quietly and safely move to their next class. Moreover, unwanted behaviours can be avoided and minimised by explicitly outlining and teaching expectations on how students should exit the room.

Every teacher has their own plan of how they will wrap up a lesson, collect any materials and prepare the room for the next group of students as the lesson comes to an end. Ideally, teachers would have the opportunity to check for understanding and provide feedback before dismissal. Students should have a clear understanding of how they are going to submit any work, how they are expected to return any classroom material, and how they are to pack up and exit the room.

Here are some questions teachers need to consider before introducing an exit procedure:

Exit Routine

In order for any procedures to become routines, they need to be taught explicitly, rehearsed and reinforced consistently until excellence becomes habitual. This should be done by explicit teaching, modelling and ongoing practice, even at the secondary level.

We can't change the length of the lessons we teach, but we can start making every second count by developing and implementing efficient Entry and Exit routines.


Lemov, D. (2015). Teach like a champion 2. 0 : 62 techniques that put students on the path to college. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.

(2023, July 15). Retrieved from NESA:

Entry Ticket. (2023, July 15). Retrieved from theteachertoolkit:

AISNSW. (2023, July 15). Classroom Practice 3: Classroom Procedures and Routines.


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