Students talking out in class can be one of the most frustrating challenges teachers face on a day to day basis. Whether it is whispering to their neighbors or blurting out questions or comments without a hand raise, talking can be a problem. Usually it is the same students causing the problems day after day who quickly become the thorn in your side.
What are your best practices for eliminating talking out while encouraging effective class discussion?
Classroom Management and Talking Out
1. Bell Work – I may sound like a broken record when I talk about bell work, but it is so effective. Have an assignment ready to go as students walk in to keep them busy and focused. Otherwise, they will come in and begin a conversation that they will try to extend throughout the class.
2. Assigned Seats – I’m a big advocate for assigned seats, especially during the first weeks of school. As you get to know your class there are certain students who just cannot sit next to each other. Why tempt a student by sitting them next to their best friend (or worst enemy)?
3. Adjust Seating Arrangements – Sometimes you can’t avoid two talkative people sitting next to each other. Give the students a warning and then move their seats if they continue to talk.
4. Do Not Respond – When a student asks innocently, “What’s you’re favorite movie?” it can be hard not to respond. Don’t engage in the conversation. If you acknowledge the comment of a student talking out, then you reinforce the behavior. Train yourself not to engage in conversations that students try to initiate without raising their hands.
5. Enforce the Rules – If “Raise your hand” is a classroom rule, then it has to be enforced. Don’t think of it as a “lesser” rule. If you have to give a detention for talking out, do it. It is the only way you will reinforce the behavior for the student and their peers. You must also enforce the talking out rule for students who rarely make the mistake. If you don’t warn or punish a student who seldom talks out, the talkative student will be enraged at the injustice. Kids have a strong sense of justice even when they are punished often.
What are your best strategies for managing talking out in class? Post your ideas in the comments at the bottom of this page.
Update: There is a great discussion over at Google+. Check out Isolde Eleison’s thoughts on the “Love and Logic” Approach. It is fascinating: https://plus.google.com/100247560868840972812/posts/RG88ZZwfgUY