Help! Too much talking...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TamiJ, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Nov 1, 2008

    Please help me. I am teaching high school for the first time. My classes are small (15 to 18 students each), but they always try to talk over me. I have to keep reminding them "When I am talking, you are listening". Any advise? How do you all handle this? Technique ideas?
     
  2.  
  3. forchange

    forchange Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 1, 2008

    I'm on my 5th year at the middle school level and I would say that every teacher except one at my school has this problem at least on occasion. Here is what I do (obviously with less than 100% effectiveness).

    1) I DO NOT talk over them. I stop. I wait. I eye kids who are talking. 95% of the time this works.

    2) I don't give a consequence for every time a student calls out (sometimes it shows they're excited about the learning -- which is good), but I do put their name on the board and follow through on my consequence system with frequent offenders.

    3) Since a lot of time it's too many kids to reprimand or I can't be certain who did the talking, I change plans, stop teaching, don't go over answers, and don't do the activity (especially if it's fun).

    4) I talk about the reason why everyone can't talk at once and how unfair it is to call out an answer when I've called on someone to tell me their answer. Most kids understand that it's a fairness issue.

    I guess number 1 is the bottom line with me. Kids know that I don't talk over them. They know that my class will come to a stand still, if I can't teach. I will even go to my desk, sit down, and tell them that I'll teach when they're ready to learn (followed by a description of what I need to see -- sitting correctly, eyes tracking the speaker, mouths closed). Of course, they may want to stop you from teaching, in which case I would make sure that they do everything for homework that you couldn't get to because of their talking.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 1, 2008

    You don't have to explain "When I am talking, you are listening." They're not small kids; they know the routine.

    I've been known to wait a minute, then very quietly walk over to where the homework is posted and erase the word "evens."

    Or to count pretty quietly: "One, two.." If I hit "three" I've sometimes said "take out a piece of paper" and followed it up with an assignment I'm pretty sure they'll hate.
     
  5. forchange

    forchange Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2008
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 1, 2008

    Another tactic that I've seen used effectively is to use a timer or stop watch to keep track of wasted time and expect that back from them in detention.

    Alice... I don't think they need to have the rule explained to them, but I do think teachers as a whole sometimes forget to explain the rationale behind the rule, which can be important. I think this is especially true for middle and high school kids who are no longer really following rules because they want to make adults happy. I have reasons for all rules that I have and I'm happy to use some time every once in a while to remind them. It's easier for anyone (certainly for me) to follow rules that I understand the need for.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 1, 2008

    Oh, sure. But I think that, having said all that in September, you don't have to keep repeating it. I would go straight to consequences after waiting a moment or two.
     
  7. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    141
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 1, 2008

    Use two phrases:

    "Please stop talking." When students are not talking about the task

    "Please raise your hand." When students shout out answers or questions. Also, be sure not to immediately reward a student who raises his hand after the question TOO FREQUENTLY as this will reinforce that shouting then raising a hand will is OK. I do reward initially, in the first period, then call on other students or finish my thought before addressing the raised hand during subsequent class periods. It's behaviorism. It's tough to think about doing that and teaching, but you'll get the hang of it.
     
  8. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 2, 2008

    I would try things that have been mentioned above, but one year I was so desperate I tried this..


    I told them that they were so talkative that I thought they probably wasted at least 45 minutes (half a period) of our time throughout the whole week. So that since that time was wasted anyway, I would give it to them in one chunk to play a game or do something fun on Fridays, if I could teach straight through the rest of the week. Then I wrote 45 on the corner of the board. Every time I had to wait more than a reasonable amount of time to get their attention, I would just walk over to the board and erase a minute. Then I would count to five, and erase another, and keep going until they were quiet. Typically as soon as I walked there with an eraser, they started to settle down. So, I might have been wasting class time by giving them game time, but at least the time I spent teaching that week was relatively uninterrupted. (And I always tied the fun activity into what we were doing).

    Another trick that ALWAYS works is for a last period class, which tend to be my most talkative. I told them if they waste my time, I will waste theirs. Once that bell rings, we are on their time, and they hate it. When they are talking or being off task, I just say, ok, that's 5! 10! 15! until they are quiet. Then they owe me that many seconds after the bell rings. Its soo funny how painful it is for them to sit 5 seconds after the bell when they hear all their friends outside going to their buses and cars. My AP told me I could keep them up to a minute and they would still have time to get to their buses. They HATE it.
     
  9. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Nov 2, 2008

    Wow! Thankseveryone. I will try that this week with my talkers...
     
  10. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    724
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 2, 2008

    I do the "stand where I'm at quietly" I just stand there and either look at the floor or ceiling or around the room and they 'police themselves and quiet down. Usually its one person going..Ya'll better hush, she's gonna get mad.
     
  11. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2008
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 2, 2008

    As someone else said, don't keep getting louder and louder trying to talk over them. Stop and glare at whomever isn't paying attention. Or ask a question and then draw on the student who's talking for an answer. You might also want to try sitting them in a U and seeing if that makes any difference.

    If it still doesn't work, stop in mid sentence and listen for whichever student is being the most disruptive, and immediately put that student out in the corridor. The next time you stop in mid sentence it will quickly get the students' attention.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 300 (members: 0, guests: 278, robots: 22)
test