No matter their age, no matter what subject you may be teaching, there are those days when the decibels in the classroom seem to keep climbing and climbing. Sometimes students may just be full of energy, other times they are more intent on discussing anything but schoolwork. No matter the situation it can be disruptive to your lesson plans to have countless voices vying to be heard at the same time.
As much as you want to try to match your student's volume is not the way to go if you want them to both calm and quiet down. So we have looked at some techniques and tips you can implement the next time you feel the noise level of your class is becoming disruptive.
It should be very clear that the students know that when they enter the classroom it is time to act in a calm and collected manner, which may be difficult especially if the lesson follows a break or lunchtime. Define your expectations and how you want the class to behave throughout the lesson. Letting them know the lesson plan at the start, and when there will be a time to collaborate and talk with classmates may encourage them to be quiet and focus when needed.
Setting the tone for the class will give the students the structure they need to focus and learn, set aside a few minutes to remind the class how they should enter the classroom. If they enter a calm and quiet classroom, it will set the tone and encourage them to keep to that noise level throughout the lesson. Likewise, laying out clear instructions at the beginning of a new lesson or an activity will highlight how students need to behave. This can be letting them know that it is a silent activity, that some discussions with one another can take place if done at a low volume level, or that they must raise their hands if they wish to contribute.
When trying to quiet down a noisy classroom, don’t address a whole group, instead focus on a few individual students who are being the noisiest. If you speak to a group, they have power in numbers, and often no one takes responsibility and continues to do what they shouldn’t. But by identifying students personally and not as a collective you are much more likely to get results and get them to be quiet as there is more fear that they could get reprimanded.
Once some of the main culprits are quiet the rest of the class should quickly follow. Combining this with praise and incentives for well-behaved and quiet students will help to promote a sense of decorum. If you just speak to the class as a whole about noise levels then you run the risk of letting those who are mainly responsible just hide within the group. Similarly, well-behaved students may feel unjustly reprimanded if group punishments and warnings are issued.
Try and say something to your class only once to encourage them to listen carefully at all times. By repeating what you say you are enabling them to be lazy listeners, as they will learn that they don’t need to listen as you will repeat it a second or third time. The noisy students will soon learn that if they aren’t paying attention they will miss out on what is said and not get the instructions for the task.
Make sure to set the standard early and let all the students know early on that you don’t repeat instructions, that is sure to get their attention. There are of course plenty of ways that you can ensure students remain engaged and focused throughout your class and lesson. By setting a standard and expectation that you will not repeat instructions, responsibilities, or information, you will engrain into your students the understanding that they have to listen attentively and that at crucial times when you are speaking they must be alert and clued in.
A restless mind is naturally going to wander and will look to do something to keep itself occupied. Oftentimes with children and students in general, this means talking to friends and fellow students. Unfortunately for teachers around the world, this is the reason it can take an unreasonable amount of time instructing students to quieten down in an attempt to restore reasonable volume levels.
To help combat this, try and implement activities that grab students' attention from the get-go. While we can debate attention span at a later point in time, it is important to use a variety of games, quizzes, exercises, and more that asks students to think creatively, brainstorm, or problem-solve. There are a wide range of tools and software that are designed to make the classroom more interactive, so making our next lesson both engaging and interactive should be easier than ever before.
Instilling from a young age key listening skills will greatly help students throughout their academic life. The more they understand and engage in active listening, the more likely they are to pay attention and listen to the teacher in class. For younger students, a great way to practice their listening skills is to play different games such as Simon Say or Popcorn Storytelling.
Experts believe that working on the skill of listening will help students to communicate better, reduce levels of frustration in class, strengthen their sense of empathy, and even improve their relationship skills. It may be a skill that is often overlooked, but one that is undoubtedly vital in all walks of life, both inside and outside of the classroom.
To promote good listening skills in the classroom, it is important to set an example and model such behavior. Listening more to your students instead of listening to reply to their question or comment, showing positive body language and actively engaging in what they are saying, shows you care what they say and that you are listening.
Listening is the perfect foundation to build a good teacher-student relationship and establishing effective communication in the classroom is the cornerstone of this foundation. Getting to know your students on a more personal level can support and exemplify good listening skills. Research has shown that students are much more likely to listen to a teacher who has taken time to get to know them than one that hasn’t.
Hopefully, these tips and suggestions can help you better control the volume levels of your classroom and maintain both productivity and engagement levels. When it comes to providing students with interactive learning material, we here at Mentimeter have a series of resources that you can access with little to no effort. From templates to webinars for educators, we can help take your next lesson to a whole new level.