How to Manage Chatty Kids in Your Classroom Without Raising Your Voice

Foolproof Ways to

Stop Chatty Kids Wrecking Your Classroom.

Managing Chatty Kids can be difficult.

It is a little more complex for relief teachers. Most Relief Teachers may not have the opportunity to develop a working relationship with your class, especially if this is the first time you have met them. In the course of your year, there is definitely going to be times when you encounter chatty kids who do not respond immediately to your behaviour management regime. Well that happens. 

Chatty kids are annoying and although this may be true there are several factors that relief teachers should consider before firing a warning shot in the classroom,

1.
CHATTY KIDS HAVE TO TALK

Sometimes kids just have to talk. After all - when was the last time you kept quiet in a group of people for a couple of hours. Above all, it must be remembered, that talking is essential to (and for) learning.

2.
KEEPING CHATTY KIDS SILENT IS UNHELPFUL

Chatty Kids have probably always been chatty kids. They may well be encouraged to chat at home and in the playground. Chatty kids are often social leaders. With this in mind, ALWAYS keeping chatty kids silent is both unhelpful and not an efficient behaviour management strategy.

3.
CHATTY KIDS MAY NOT BE CHALLENGING YOU

It might seem that chatty kids are challenging your authority, but that may not be the case. Some students need the process of talking to integrate new learning. Relief Teacher need to ensure that these students are motivated to learn by encouraging productive talk,

4.
IF CHATTY KIDS ARE DISRUPTIVE MOVE TO PLAN B

Learn to differentiate productive chatter from disruptive chatter. If you the purpose of the chatter is to disrupt the lesson, move to another strategy. The last thing you need to is lose control of the class while pandering to your chatty student.

Tried and Tested Techniques to Manage Chatty Kids.

chatty kids
Think - Pair - Share

This is the perfect teaching strategy for chatty kids, because chatter is the essence of the learning. Students must talk to participate.

This is a learning activity where talking is critical to learning so chatty kids and a chatty classroom are both well catered for.

THINK - PAIR - SHARE

1

THINK

THE FIRST STEP in a think-pair-share activity is to have students take a few minutes to consider some issue or concept. It is probably best to allow them to write stuff down - even jotting a few notes.

2

PAIR

Once the student has independently written down some notes they discuss it with one or more of their peers. The "pair" discuss, share idea and, if an opinion is needed, develop a stance

3

SHARE

Finally pairs join with larger groups (sometimes this can be the whole class) where they share their thoughts in a formal discussion.

Students need some prior knowledge of the subject matter to discuss it in a meaningful. The "think-pair-share" exercise is useful in situations where learners can identify and relate what they already know to others.

The purpose is allow the noisy class to channel their chatter into a purposeful learning activity.

chatty kids
Chat Time Agreements

Some may see that Chat Time Agreements as an "if you can't beat them - join them" behaviour management strategy for chatty kids.

And maybe that is correct. The purpose of the Chat Time Agreement is to maximise Learning Time.

CHAT TIME AGREEMENTS

1

THE AGREEMENT

The chat time agreement is that after 20 minutes of concerted learning time, the students will be given 3 minutes of chat time. They can use this chat tie to talk about anything. 

Most chatty kids can control themselves for that period of time. For this strategy to work, LEARNING TIME has to be productive and meaningful.

2

CONDITIONS

When the chat time is over, start a timer that all the students can see for another 20 minutes. If you find yourself stooping every few minutes to settle chatty kids, this chat time agreement might be worth trying. Vary the time to suit the class.

CHATTY KIDS CARTOON
chatty kids
Seating Plans

Seat the students in single desks facing the board or teacher for silent work.

Move them to another part of the room to talk. This could be a carpeted area or a seating circle. Sure, classroom space will be a limiting factor but you can be creative.

SEATING PLANS

1

THE PURPOSE

The seating plan is related to setting up a purpose for being a the location. You move students to an area of the classroom for talking and another area for working.

This strategy is a bit like Pavlov's dogs theory of classical conditioning. You are training the students to associate sitting down in the chairs with listening.

This strategy can be used with any trigger. Maybe a small flag up could be used as a listening signal. You could experiment with what ever suits you.

chatty kids
Balance

This might be sounding like the bleeding obvious, but you really need to balance your classwork.

Many teachers stand at the front of the room every day - day in day out. (in fact I have to admit, I have done that before too)

BALANCE

1

THE PROBLEM

If you are doing the same thing every day, you will notice a gradually decline in interest. We all move in th our own comfort zone. But what is comfortable for us, might be sheer torture for others.

This strategy can be used with any trigger. Maybe a small flag up could be used as a listening signal. You could experiment with what ever suits you.

Chatty Kids normally find their voice when the situation become unbearable or boring.

2

THE SOLUTION

If you are doing the same thing every day, you will notice a gradually decline in interest. We all move in th our own comfort zone. But what is comfortable for us, might be sheer torture for others.

Balance these passive periods with active periods. Active doesn't just mean jumping around. It can mean that your progress from a listening activity to talking activity.

chatty kids cartoon
chatty kids
Teaching Variety

Variety is the spice of life but it is also the flavouring of the classroom. Vary everything you do.

TEACHING VARIETY

1

THE PROBLEM

If you are doing the same thing every day, you will notice a gradually decline in interest. We all move in th our own comfort zone. But what is comfortable for us, might be sheer torture for others.

2

THE SOLUTION

Set your watch (or phone) to pig every 15 - 20 minutes. Change one thing you are doing. If you are standing out the front, move the the back. If you are talking, sing a few lines of instruction. If you are quiet, be louder. 

Get the students to stand and work at their desks. If the students have been at their desks for a long time, move outside and work under a tree for 30 minutes.

Balance these passive periods with active periods. Active doesn't just mean jumping around. It can mean that your progress from a listening activity to talking activity.

Sometimes you might find the chatty kids refocus their attention to the learning.

chatty kids
Be One with the Conch

Remember the CONCH in Lord of the Flies? 

The group of boys used a conch to control the large group discussion.​

BE ONE WITH THE CONCH

1

THE PROBLEM

Large group discussions can often be just the trigger chatty kids need. Class discussions can be extremely protracted if chatty kids take control and call out. 

2

THE SOLUTION

Have a discussion time where only the CONCH holder can talk.

This activity is best completed in a circle but can be achieved while students are seated. Instead of a conch, use a very soft foam ball that can be passed by throwing without taking out an eye.

You can let out a little aggression here. When it's your turn with the conch, lob a fast ball at one of your little turkeys who might not be watching.

Sometimes you might find the chatty kids refocus their attention to the learning when they are FORCED to listen to the interaction of others.

chatty kids
Try Investigations

Investigations are great for noisy classrooms and chatty kids because sharing and talking is the basis of the learning.

USING INVESTIGATIONS

1

THE PROBLEM

Sometimes class work is more focus on the giving (by the teacher). Not that I have a problem with that. But it is important to balance learning with the taking (by the student). That's where investigation fit in.

2

THE SOLUTION

Investigations are great for noisy classrooms because sharing and talking is the basis of the learning and an essential part of the activity. Your chatty kids might be right in their element. They can chat away and people will listen.

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