Stop The Chatter In Your Classroom

Talking in the classroom is inevitable. It is likely you already have techniques for quieting a classroom that is loud. This is often done by flickering lights, ringing a bell, or some other type of activity that will gain attention. But what do you do for the students you have that seem to always be chatting in your classroom, even when everyone else is quiet?

Something to keep in mind is that students talk for a variety of reasons. Some may be asking a neighbor to repeat something from the lesson. Another may be socializing. Someone else may be talking to themselves to reinforce what is being taught. What is important is that you find a way to minimize this chatter so it does not disrupt the rest of your class, and so that you are not stopping every few minutes to quiet your classroom.

The first thing you should do is set classroom expectations. Each student comes from a different family, and each family reinforces social norms differently. Some students may simply not be used to the idea that they are meant to be quiet when someone else is talking. Firmly explain what behaviors you want your students to follow in your classroom. You likely won’t strive for a totally silent classroom, but make sure you have decided firmly on the behaviors you want to see in class. This is best done at the start of a school year, but it’s right after winter break so now’s not a bad time either.

Now, to deal with chattering in the classroom, you can try several different approaches. The first is to ask the class, overall, to quiet down and pay attention to you. This approach is nice because it doesn’t single out the student, which can be embarrassing for them (especially if they were asking for information for their notes), and also re-focuses the classroom’s attention on one person. However if this doesn’t work, you may need to address the student by name.

This is also where a seating chart comes into play. If you have several students sitting together who cannot stop talking, separate them. And if you have a student that won’t stop talking no matter where they’re sitting, put them at the front of the classroom, near you.

Of course these strategies only go so far. In the end you may have to pull a student aside to discuss their behavior and give warnings. The hope is, however, that these strategies will prevent that from having to happen.

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