I have a couple of boys who do the same thing. I see them talking, I tell them to stop (or just say their name) and they begin arguing that they weren't talking; to the point where it actually becomes more of a problem-- I end up having to tell them "Stop talking NOW" so the class can move on.
These are good kids and the "arguing" is NOT combative-- they just feel they need it to be "fair" because they genuinely don't see what they are doing as disruptive. (rolls eyes)
Anyway, how do I make it stop NOW, not lead into a discussion?? Thanks.
Have you tried dealing with them in a non-public way? For instance, as you circle the room, if you see them talking, just walk casually toward them and tap on their desk without looking down at them, or see if you can catch their eye contact and give them a teacher look.
You may have to quietly walk over there, as you check work with other students, and lean down and whisper to them to please end their conversation.
If it is still a problem have a talk with one or both after class and tell them matter of factly that their behavior is inappropriate in the classroom and disrespectful to your goal of teaching all the students and that you need it to stop.
A lot of the reason that students get into the "arguing" is because when you publicly call them out they feel the need to save face by arguing back. If you simply discreetly inform them and immediately leave, or simply stand by their desk while teaching they'll stop. They don't want you to go further.
Sometimes I just go "pst!" and when they look at me I just shake my head slowly, as in saying no, stop. No mention of names, not really bringing a lot of attention to them and not accusing them of talking. They know what they're doing. I almost never get a problem with this, most of the time they say they're sorry, they hold up their hands as in saying 'ok, I stop", or they just stop.
I also noticed that a lot of time when students talk about the material, and not off topic stuff, they don't consider it wrong, and sometimes they want to argue about that.
The problem is when I am instructing and they are talking-- so even if I go back and talk to them, everyone will be watching. Also I don't argue back, but I just want the noise to stop... and yes I am usually humorous and say "but you're talking now". I was hoping someone had the ultimate comeback. I do find talking to them privately and explaining why it;s a problem is helpful.
I would talk to them after class. Explain what you are seeing. Give them 3 sticky notes each class period. If they begin to talk, remove a sticky from their desk. They will already know this means to stop talking. You will not say a word. Do this each time you see one of them talking. When you have all three stickies explain the consequence. This can either be a parent call or a write up. You no longer confront them verbally and they know the removal of the sticky means to cease and desist without any verbal exchange. Each student will have three stickies. If you have to remove one from all three desks, do it. They will get the message much faster and you no longer have a verbal meeting. No words need to be exchanged.
I have a few students like this and I agree - talk to them after class. Tell them, "If I say your name or ask you to stop talking - it's because you were talking. In arguing me you are both disrespecting me and accusing me of lying. In the future, if I ask you to stop talking - just do it. If you think it is unfair, see me *after* class to discuss this." This worked on my kids.
If they're belligerent or argumentative at this point, tell them that you'd be happy to have their parents or administrators in to observe the class.