Creative teaching ideas are born from everyday classroom issues. When it comes to issues, every teacher, without exception, has had to deal with a student who simply cannot stop talking in class.
There are different categories of talking in class, and different teaching strategies for different situations. Here are three common types of talkers:
1. The blurter. Even as he is raising his hand, he's already answering the question.
2. The whisperer. She simply can't stop sharing her every thought with her neighbor, but thinks she's being sneaky.
3. The chatterbox. Any topic is fair game, at any volume level. No sneaking here or concern with being caught, just a child who loves to hear his own voice.
"I'm not talking...I'm whispering!"
It is important to understand that there are two broad topics that talkers blurt, whisper and chatter about: curriculum...and everything else.
A social talker. This student talks about non-school things. He may want attention or he may not have been expected to practice self-control at home, but he is not generally talking to process learning.
A subject talker. When this student talks, she is processing learning in a verbal manner. Talking about things is how she reinforces them. We all "talk to ourselves" about issues...this child is just not keeping it her head.
The best teaching practice in this situation is to figure out the reason for talking because it can help you come up with the appropriate creative teaching ideas to address it.
Regardless of the reason, for all cases - blurting, whispering, chattering, socializing or processing - there are steps to follow that will minimize the problem and lessen its impact on other learners.
We can address this as we do so many other behaviors by setting appropriate behavior expectations for school, which can be applied regardless of the expectations at home.
The initial step in best teaching practices for all talking in class scenarios is to set expectations early. Every child should be fully aware of when it is appropriate to speak up; they should have this full understanding within the first week of arriving in your classroom.
We should not set an expectation for a totally silent classroom. A classroom should be a vibrant place of verbal processing, encouragement and questions and answers.
Set the limit and model appropriate talking.
This expectation alone is enough to resolve many of your talking issues, along with appropriate reminders.
"Josh, you blurted the answer. When someone shouts out the answer, all the rest of the people feel super disappointed because they had the answer too and didn't get to share it. We'd accept an apology if you offer one."
Or, ignore it and say to another student:
"Thanks so much for quietly raising your hand, Carson. You are really doing a great job meeting expectations for not blurting. What are your thoughts?"
"Let's hold our conversations and focus on meeting expectations and getting some great learning done."
"Oh my, Peter, did you know that when you talk non-stop other people can't learn? See if you can try harder to not interfere with learning and give folks a chance to do their own thinking. I'll stop by in a few minutes so you can talk to me about our lesson."
If reminders aren't enough, asking a student to step aside for a quick one-on-one chat helps. It removes them from the situation for a more physical reminder of expectations; moving the entire body adds emphasis to the point.
For those situations where reminders are not enough, our creative teaching ideas must move toward individualized approaches.
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