Originally Posted by Go Blue!
I notice a lot of people say they wait and won't talk until the kids are quiet but I feel like this only works if the kids are relatively respectful of the teacher. Some teachers might be waiting until it's time to retire.
I watch a teacher do this everyday when he is teaching in my room during my plan. He says "I'll wait until everyone is quiet." But, many of the kids just keep on talking because when he's quiet they feel that's the best time to talk since they aren't talking over him. I watch them argue with him that they aren't being disrespectful if they are talking while he's quiet because he's not teaching.
That's what I was thinking, it definitely depends on the class.
In most cases, if I do the "Attention up here" (or whatever similar phrase) and wait a few seconds, they'll get quiet in a short matter of time.
A few classes I've subbed for, however -- anywhere from a few kids, to half the class will continue talking indefinitely. In those situations, I'll usually wait 5-10 seconds and then ask once more, perhaps in a slightly different way. Standing still, looking patient and expecting of their attention. Proximity is important here, I generally go to the middle of the class and get close to students, make eye contact, directly address a few specific students or group, etc. This quiets a few more kids, but still, several kids will keep going. At this point, I use my judgment on when is a good time to start talking over the few kids who are never going to stop. Usually, my talking will get those last few kids to stop, and if not, I still said what I had to say and most the class heard it.
I'm sure this has a lot to do with the particular school and class, amongst other things. I am currently subbing in inner-city schools. Most students' motivations are already low, and I am simply a "new authority figure" to them. Easy to see why many resist listening. In your own classroom, and when the students respect you and you're doing a good job teaching (and the school isn't crazy I suppose), it seems to be a much simpler process...
Just asking for their attention and then waiting a moment should do the trick. Also, make sure when you do get their attention, you give them something of value, or they will learn "why should I give my attention when they're just going to do or say something that doesn't matter"