Classroom Management Part V - Tackling Talkers, Whisperers, and Note P
Feb 15, 2010 Classroom Management 2639 Views
Well, of course you should not tackle them (though, sometimes you may want to). But there are ways of handling that clump of students who cannot seem to resist the temptation to talk, whisper, and pass notes. As the fifth in a series of eight articles on classroom management, this piece will give strategies to help you rein in your gaggle of gossipers.
RELOCATE. One of the easiest ways to stop the gossip is to break up the group. Point out the behavior to the students and then make them aware that they will loose the privilege of choosing where they sit. If these students continue talking, move their seats.
SPY. Listen in on conversation to be sure that students are on topic. Peer over shoulders to see what students are writing. Look on computer screens to see that students are typing assignments and not instant messaging. This is no invasion of privacy. During class time students should be engaged in class work.
CIRCLE UP. Arrange seats in a circle. This gives you a view of all the students. Students are less likely to pass notes or whisper if the feel they are being observed.
CO-OPT. Redirect this talkative energy towards classroom assignments. Have students work in groups using cooperative learning models. Assign oral presentations. Have students write letters in journals. Ask the lead talker to read and explain directions for assignments.
CALL THEM OUT. If the behavior is public, then your response should also be public. Respectfully tell students that their conversation is interrupting learning. This acknowledgement helps these students who may not know that their whispering is distracting (or even audible). It also serves as a reminder of expectations for other students.
Talking, whispering, and note passing are all a part of teen culture. At the same time, this behavior is inappropriate for the classroom. Address this behavior using the strategies above. Doing so will help keep your students respectful and focused.