A child keeps on talking while everyone else is attentively listening. Seems like you have a talking competitor in the classroom. So, how do you deal with a talkative child in a class?
Ring a bell?
Steven Arthur Pinker, a cognitive psychologist and author, once said, “Parents provide their children with genes as well as an environment so the fact that talkative parents have kids with good language skills could simply mean that and that the same genes that make parents talkative make children articulate.”
I chose that to be my introductory venture so we can deal with loquacious children in the classroom most optimistically. I know that as teachers we are equipped with beaming strategies to quiet our classrooms.
Some work, some do not. But we should not get stressed or exhausted. It’s part of the teaching scheme.
When a child talks, it’s a great blessing. However, when the child talks nonstop that he or she disrupts other’s concentration, then it needs your attention as the teacher. When a child talks ceaselessly, it is disruptive as it is also annoying especially if you are delivering instructions.
Well, these lovely little creatures just love to say that they are having a wonderful time as chatterers. Without them knowing it that they increase the noise level in the classroom. As classroom teachers, we have to do something about it to avoid disruptions and distractions.
By saying so, we need to tap our classroom management strategies to minimize the chatter in the classroom so they remain focused on the learning activities.
These are lenient and constructive tips to keep a talkative child from talking too much. So, when a child has too much to say, you can do the following and still remain a committed and dedicated teacher.
How Do You Deal with a Talkative Child in a Class?
1. Design an open forum for learning tasks
When children love to talk, they have something to share. Then, you should give them the opportunity to say their piece and be heard. You can divide the class into groups and give them open-ended questions for their brainstorming activities. Instruct them to share their ideas to come up with a sound argument or solutions to the problems.
Observe how talkative children perform. When they actively share their ideas about the topic and cooperate with their group mates, then their being chatty in class should be geared towards gaining positive results. You can guide them.
However, if it’s the other way around. Let’s say, the talkative child doesn’t cooperate with the learning activities, meaning he or she just loves to talk without purpose, then you should manage this little chatterbox constructively. On my end, I would ask the child to lead the group.
Assigning children varied roles in classroom learning activities would basically let them know that you are noticing them and that you are considering how they behave in the classroom.
2. Discuss appropriate manners in conversations
How to take turns in a conversation? What should you do when somebody is sharing ideas or is presenting? These are sample questions that you may ask your students at the very beginning.
“If any of you have something to share, just raise your hand and you will be called on right away,” I usually say this. “When someone is sharing, you have to listen intently,” I always remind my student.
Aside from the practical reminders, I also tackle polite expressions and words to develop healthy conversations in the classroom. It’s quite challenging at the start, but with your consistent reminders, children shall embed these polite words in their conversations and dialogues.
Also, to avoid interruptions, your students should be taught about taking turns in conversations. Inculcate respect in your reminders so your children will heed proper conversational etiquette by heart.
Teaching children about manners and courtesy will also hone their social skills. Encourage children to put them into practice and tell them that you’re happy when they do so.
3. Impose norms and expectations to maintain order in the classroom
Every classroom should be reinforced by rules, norms, and expectations to intensify discipline. Furthermore, every student should know and understand each rule to avoid confusion and chaos in the classroom.
It is very necessary to build up a classroom well-founded by discipline. You should begin doing it at the beginning of classes. When students are aware of the rules from the start, they come to be very conscious of their actions.
As you go by and by, it’s expected that students tend to get loose and tend to forget your agreement at the beginning. Then you have to reinforce the rules and expectations from time to time.
Implementing persistent rules should be done. For instance, if your students should raise a hand when they want to say something, then that has to be observed all the time. Meaning, there should be a consistent implementation of norms, rules, and expectations.
4. Use non-verbal cues to get their attention
When children in the classroom listen to what we have to say, we can see that in their facial expressions. Maintaining eye contact is necessary. It’s a magnet that keeps students alert and sustains their focus. However, there are students who can’t seem to control themselves from talking with their seatmates.
You begin the lesson and all your students seem to be very perceptive.
And then suddenly, you heard a little noise. You just don’t mind it. Then, the tinkle becomes a gong all at once! What would you do? Would you shout too?
One of the best ways to handle a very talkative child is to use non-verbal cues to get his/her attention. You can go near the child as you still continue to talk and tap the desk gently. That’s a clue for the child to stop talking. Stay there for a little while but don’t stop with your discussion. You can also use a hand signal so the noisy child can take the hint.
You can use a bell, a flashcard with the plea “Keep quiet “, or you keep quiet for a moment. I tried the last one. It’s effective. When I suddenly stop talking, my students are looking at one another and keep quiet. They know I mean something when I stop and keep still. That’s a meaningful cue for them. And I always do it.
Grab your student’s attention with just gestures. When done effectively, you can keep them on task. Also, you can be saved from being interrupted and getting exhausted.
5. Give extra tasks
How do you deal with a talkative child in a class? You can try giving him/her extra tasks. Keep the child engaged by doing some other tasks. Additionally, having learning activities outside the classroom can also keep children excited and give more opportunities for the talkative child to share ideas and be more active. (I’m not tolerating a chatter but helping the child instead)
Also, some children finish the tasks ahead of time and so they talk with their seatmates. When they’re engaged in a conversation, the noise begins.
You can design advanced or supplemental activities that are still aligned with the learning objectives. Preparing differentiated activities is a great practice to keep children busy working on the learning tasks.
When children are busy working with extra tasks that win their interest, most likely, they increase their concentration and look forward to the completion of the activities.
This calls for careful planning and diligent preparation of instructional materials. You are the teacher. You know how it goes.
6. Converse with the talkative child in private
If a child interrupts discussions frequently even though you are already using varied verbal and non-verbal strategies, then it’s all right to talk in private.
Before this actuation can develop into disruptive behavior, as the classroom manager, you should do something about it as soon as you can. Be discreet because others might notice. As you know, children are very inquisitive and curious about things.
As much as possible we should avoid others knowing that one of their classmates is being reprimanded. Talk to the child and let him or her know what’s going on.
Let the child understand that talking in the classroom is not prohibited but it should be done in a way. Explain to the child the consequences of sudden interruptions and frequent disruptions. Just help the child perceive that being noisy in the classroom is not appropriate.
Do it gently and in a manner. Never shout. Never deride. It’s a no-no.
7. Have a private conference with the parents concerned
This should be your last option. When a child always causes commotion in the classroom no matter how diligent you are in implementing tips 1 to 6 in the list, plus your verbal hints, then you should call for a parent conference. There must be something that you don’t know about the child.
It’s helpful to know the history and background of the child so you can understand him or her better. Tap the help of the parents. Since they have the prime responsibility of disciplining their child, they have the right to know about the behavior of their child in the classroom in order to address the problem as soon as possible.
A smooth-sailing classroom is a result of your effective classroom management strategies. Moreover, it calls for your patience, understanding, and best application of the best tips to quiet down a classroom.
Your classroom talkers need you. Ultimately, they need your guidance. They are the attention-getters who need to realize their importance in the classroom. Number 5 on the list might give them confidence and change their perspectives. Assign them extra tasks and roles.
Let them know that you are there to help them realize their potential. Give them much-needed teacher support. See how it can make a difference.
Should you want to add some smart tips in dealing with a talkative child in a classroom, please feel free to share them in the comment section below.