Managing whispering/talking during lessons

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by LukeofAppalachi, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. LukeofAppalachi

    LukeofAppalachi Rookie

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    Nov 6, 2012

    Hey again, I am having a bit of trouble thinking out the best way to handle this...I have a rule against "talking while the teacher is talking." So far when a student talks while I am talking, I give them a stern look, but I am a bit hesitant to start doling out consequences for things like that, but now I am wondering if I should...I would like to know, at the beginning of the year, do you give the kids a consequence/punishment/write up if they whisper while you are talking, or do you give a more subtle warning...I just know...quiet talk can easily grow into horrid behavior if left unchecked...but I don't know how strict to be. Ps: Classroom management has always been a bit of a struggle for me. I'm better than I was, but I still have alot to learn.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nov 6, 2012

    For side conversations or general chattiness, I prefer not to pull out the big guns (i.e., referrals). I like to save referrals for big or repeated offenses.

    If the teacher look doesn't work for chatterers, I will address them specifically with something like, "Ladies, I'm speaking." If that doesn't work, I will move their seats. That usually fixes the problem.
     
  4. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    Nov 6, 2012

    I just say to the offender "Are you kidding me? Stop talking." or "Knock that off, it's very rude." That usually works, but I have really good kids overall. It's also high school...not sure what grade you are teaching.
     
  5. LukeofAppalachi

    LukeofAppalachi Rookie

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    Nov 6, 2012

    Well, I teach in a Thai Bilingual school grades 8 & 9. Most of the classes I teach are quite alright, but there is one in particular where the kids have a hard time focusing, and so go into talking. I know I need to make lessons engaging, and I am working on that. I just need some tools to deal with the "small talk." The moving seats idea sounds good, I may try that come next week. I am open to more suggestions though, I definitely want to get the message across that students are not to talk when I am speaking.
     
  6. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 6, 2012

    I always stop talking and look at the talker (even if it's just whisper, and often, even if they're off task, without talking). I look, until they look at me, then I continue. If I have to look at the same person again, I make a note on the seating chart (or a piece of paper) without saying anything, they know exactly what I'm doing.
    After a few of those I write them up, assign consequence, etc. I don't send them out of class for this, because they're not that disruptive, but they need a consequence to learn that it is not ok to talk I give them several chances, each time I pause + look, they're getting a silent a warning, and it's a chance without anything happening. So I don't feel bad assigning a consequence after a few of those, but not a major one. I feel that the punishment needs to fit the crime, so I won't give them the same 'punishment' as if they were disrespectful, or used profanity, etc.
    It works for me.

    They key is to be VERY consistent with this. I know some teachers struggle with this mostly because they forget to stop and address the issues (even with just a look) or don't want to waste their time. For me it's not an option, I get very easily distracted, so if someone is talking / whispering while I'm talking, I feel like their voices are in my head, and I have to stop, every single time.
     
  7. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Nov 7, 2012

    I give the teacher look first, and then I'll try proximity control and go stand by the talker. I have my room arranged so that I can easily stand by anyone. I have a wireless slate for my SmartBoard, so I can keep right on working.

    If neither of those work, I say the student's name and tell him/her to stop talking. I always repeat that the voice level of zero is appropriate when I am speaking. I will move a student if necessary. I put one at my podium today because he would not shut up.
     
  8. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    Nov 7, 2012

    Ditto to all of these steps. If it is more than 1-2 kids I will stop in the middle of a sentence and wait with my teacher stare on and they know I am waiting for them to pay attention. Only takes a couple of seconds for them to catch on or someone else to poke them and say be quiet.

    If it is repeated excessive talking I will give a behavior slip... which is for minor infractions at my school.
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Nov 8, 2012

    The real problem with this "issue" is that it is how humans function. Have you ever been in a staff meeting, city-council meeting or any gathering of adults? People are always talking to each other - sharing opinions, seeking clarification, etc. There's countless studies showing that we learn by talking.

    Punishing kids harshly for what we do naturally to learn seems misguided. A redirection with a quick word or a reminder about respect, etc. if the timing is inappropriate should be more than enough to handle the issue. If it isn't there are much deeper issues to deal with.
     
  10. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Nov 8, 2012

    Agree with Rockguykev, usually the teachers who give out the harshest punishments for off-task behavior in their classes are the ones talking during staff meetings, grading papers, checking their phones. It cracks me up...

    Agree with Ima too...proximity control powerful, and using their name "Don't you agree, kevin, or did you miss that because you were talking?!?" also powerful because they think no one can see them talking.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2012
  11. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Nov 8, 2012

    Normally I look at them, give them that teacher look, and it stops. If it see it persists then I ask them to please continue teaching the class, since I'M THE ONE interrupting him/her. They normally apologize and it stops.
     
  12. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Nov 8, 2012

    I do all the above things. Sometimes I'll go "I'll wait", dramatically put the cap on my marker or go sit at my desk. Other times I start writing tally marks on the board. They know that for every tally mark that means one minute they have to stay after class. That shuts them up pretty quick!
     
  13. LukeofAppalachi

    LukeofAppalachi Rookie

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    Nov 8, 2012

    These are great suggestions guys. I really appreciate it. The reason for my uncertainty is that I've been reading resources such as Lee Canter's Assertive Discipline, but he doesn't differentiate much regarding minor infractions and medium infractions...but it just seemed a bit much to give them consequences each time they whispered/talked a bit. You all have cleared it up a bit more for me, thanks.
     
  14. BookButterfly

    BookButterfly Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2012

    Hey,
    I adapted this technique from Fred Jones' book, Tools for Teaching.

    When you're talking, are you at the front of the classroom, or do you walk around? If you can, rearrange your desks so that you can move freely--that is the first step to putting a cap on whispering.

    When students talk while I'm talking, I take several steps.
    1) I walk toward the students as I'm lecturing/talking and they usually stop talking and make eye-contact. You'll find that the more you walk around your classroom and use proximity (aka being close to your students), the less chatter you have.

    2) If I'm across the room and need the behavior to stop right away, I'll say their names as I'm teaching or speaking, then give a meaningful look--usually this is followed by moving closer to the students. Example: "The house is a symbol, Alexia and Jacob, in the House on Mango Street because..." This almost ALWAYS gets them to look immediately at you and stops the behavior, especially if you hang out in their general vicinity for a moment or two afterwards.

    3) If they continue to talk while I'm talking, that's when I call them out explicitly on their behavior: Jacob and Alexia, stop talking.

    I've only once had students continue after this third step--I told them to see me either after class, during lunch, or after school and changed where they were sitting.

    Also, if the entire class is talking, I'll start counting upwards--five seconds... ten seconds... fifteen seconds... for as long as it takes to get them to settle down (it's usually no more than 10 seconds these days). I then allow them to earn that time back by being fantastic students--but if they don't, that's how long the entire class has to wait after the bell rings.

    Give it a try--and I highly, highly recommend picking up Fred Jones' "Tools for Teaching." That book has been a management life-saver.
     
  15. Silmarienne

    Silmarienne Cohort

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    Nov 21, 2012

    All the above usually work, but there are a few recalcitrants who just think that somehow what they have to say to their friend has to be said NOW... I pretty much do all the above (walk around the classroom, the Stare, etc) but a few times when a large class has been very hard to keep quiet I've told them each time I have to "Shh" I'm putting a mark on the board and the entire class will get a point off of their daily work. That usually works very well.

    One or two have said "Can't you just penalize the ones talking" and I tell them there are too many and I can't interrupt the class in order to make a list.

    If it is one person over and over, I give them a mark that counts like a "tardy": 3 such marks and they have detention.

    Yes, it is human nature to talk and there really isn't a "cure" but you can control it so that you can teach and they can learn.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2012
  16. LukeofAppalachi

    LukeofAppalachi Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I know this thread is getting a bit old, but I have a few questions...the taking off points sounds pretty good, though I do have a few qualms about taking academic points off for behavior. The "holding kids for x amount of minutes" would work nicely, but I can't really do that, as the kids only have 5 minutes in between classes (that may prevent them from being able to use the restroom or drink water, etc.). One suggestion from a coworker was that he made the whole class write lines if he had to "shush" the class more than twice. I just did a sit in observation of his class today and they were very attentive and policed themselves quite well. Have any of you implemented class-wide writing for excessive talking? Any input?
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 22, 2012

    I would not take academic points off for behavior. For me those don't mix. Usually if a student is misbehaving they won't complete their work assignment properly because they don't have time or don't pay attention. There are always a few who do all their work beautifully and have time to misbehave. They might get an A in academic grade and a D in behavior, and that's ok.

    I also don't like to have the students write lines. And I don't like to punish the whole class for a few students' behavior, although in some situations I found it to be effective.

    Instead of holding them for a few minutes after class I would give them a 30 minute detention. Do they think it's unfair? Well, then don't act up again next time. :)
     
  18. LukeofAppalachi

    LukeofAppalachi Rookie

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    Dec 5, 2012

    Well, I can't rightly give the ENTIRE class detention...or can I? A few talkers I can handle, it's when they are all doing it together that it gets to be a problem. I have my attention-getting signal,and it does work, but only temporarily...one thing I have thought is that...once getting them quiet with the signal...someone has to be the first to start it up (talking) again...if I can pinpoint them, and slam them with a warning/consequence, perhaps that be enough of a warning to the others to pre-empt a continual talking insurrection. Just a thought...
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 7, 2012

    You don't want to 'slam' kids. Do it privately or discreetly. The student will feel like you care about keeping his consequences private, and other students will catch on anyway.
     

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