Does this sound familiar? You’re in the zone. Your class are soaking up your every word as you familiarise them with subordinate clauses. Then one student, always the one, blurts out something entirely unrelated.
Children shouting out in class is a problem that we’ve all faced at some point. If it’s your mission to get these chatterboxes to keep quiet, then we’ve got some tried and tested ideas to help:
Taking notes – give the child (or all the children if you have a particularly chatty class) a whiteboard or a special notepad and ask them to write down any thoughts or questions they have rather than shouting out.
No hands up – set a class rule that there are to be no hands up. Your class can have thinking time and then you choose pupils yourself rather than asking them to volunteer.
Classroom tools – there are plenty of tools out there that can help in many classroom situations. Try a random name generator to select who will respond to questions or a noise meter to keep them quiet.
The moral of the story – choose a book to read to the class that discusses shouting out and talking in class. Then discuss with your class why it’s important. Titles such as ‘What Were You Thinking’ and ‘My Mouth is a Volcano’ are great starting points.
Talk tokens – At the beginning of the lesson, give each student some ‘tokens’. These can be anything you see fit. 1 to 3 tokens work well depending on how much interaction you require. Then during the lesson if they would like to share a thought or ask a question, they must trade in a token. If they shout something out, they must also trade in a token.
Teach listening skills – it’s often the case that some children don’t know or haven’t been shown how to listen well. Maybe they’re an only child that has never had to wait their turn or maybe they’re from a large family where they’ve had to shout out to get themselves heard. It’s important to share what listening looks like. Ask them what it looks like when someone is listening? What are their hands, eyes and bodies doing? Model the body language yourself when they have something to say.
Praise when due – don’t forget that during quiet points in class and when pupils are responding well to questioning that praise from you goes a long way. Reinforcing this good practice will encourage them to do it more often.