What to Do When Students Won’t Stop Talking

Talking during the class to participate is very much encouraged, but any type of talking that’s already interrupting is something to deal with. Other than it showing a lack of eagerness to learn, a student flaunts disrespect to the teacher.


There is no quick and easy way that can immediately cure a chatty student. But while dealing with this type of learner is expected, it becomes a recurring issue when not given action. To save your senses, here’s what to do when students won’t stop talking.

The idea is to give a reminder without interrupting the flow of your lesson. In addition to setting up classroom behavioral expectations, it allows you to react effectively in the situation.


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What to Do When Students Won’t Stop Talking

Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. – UpJourney

1) Establish Norms

Rules, Hand, Write, Marker, Pen, Custom

Rules always help prevent classroom disruptions when laid clear to the class from the very beginning. For example, they are not allowed to talk with seatmates during classes, when a classmate is answering a question, or during quizzes and tests.

Immediately call the attention of the student and calmly refer to the classroom norms regarding expectation and behavior. “Elsie and Mark, do you remember our rules that there’s no talking when the teacher is in the middle of a lecture? Please don’t let me ask you again to stop talking,  or I will need to ask you to leave.”

Although you stated the rule broadly loud and clear, your tone comes in such a way that you simply are trying to converse and correct the wrong behavior. Rules also remind the students how they should behave during classes as well as the right time to interact with each other and with the teacher.


2) Use Non-Verbal Cues

Thumbs Up, Positive, Gesture, Thumb

When a teacher freezes himself/herself, pauses while lecturing, or throws a look at the students talking; it sends a clear, consistent message that he/she is distracted by those students. Being still, it pitches the class that something is interrupting.

Acknowledging interrupters using non-verbal cues is to stop what they are doing, look at the teacher instead, and listen. This defines the routines you want them to understand. For this reason, the use of body signals must be clear and comprehensible. If your students are confused or unsure of what you are trying to tell them, then listening and attentiveness will suffer.


3) Stand beside the student

Students, Classroom, To Learn, School

Another strategy teachers can do is to move in the student’s direction while continuously speaking. Stand beside him/her/them for a minute or two. That’s a good nudge for them to understand that they are interrupting. You can even make eye contact.

Moving around the room in a random manner is an effective way to tell the class that you’re watching. Your close presence is sufficient enough for noisy students to quiet down and pay attention.


4) Don’t Acknowledge

Teenager, Hoodie, Hand, No, Gesture

Do not concede with a student who is fond of interrupting. Often, one who keeps blabbing with his seatmate misses out on parts of the lesson or directions that the teacher may have given.

If he asks you to repeat the instructions, your normal reaction might be to respond. Tell him instead to figure out a way to get the information. Explain to the student that he would have heard your instructions if he had not been talking. Disregarding in this sense creates a message that listening is important in your class.

You might want to say more impactful words like “I’m only saying this once.” before giving directions. Here, the student might try to avoid talking during classes next time so as not to feel “outcasted.”


5) Repeat Clipped or Quick Phrases

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You have the power to directly respond to interrupters. As soon as a student or students start to chit-chat, without stopping the flow of your lecture, sort out a short but on-point response like “you talk later” or “not time for chatting.” This will remind your students to stop talking right away and that you mean what you say.

Using or repeating the same phrases when responding to students who keep talking during class helps them connect your responses to any sort of interruption. This will encourage them to keep quiet and pay attention.


6) Be fair with discipline

To Learn, A Notice, Information Sign

It’s given that you may need some form of a discipline program. If students are well-informed of your rules when it comes to talking during classes, they also must know exactly the consequences for such misbehavior.

Decide if that particular student should be given a warning. Think about what’s going to happen after the discipline. Carefully reflect on whether the talking issue is disrespectful or if it might be just something justifiable.

Is the student really doing that often? Is he/she actively engaged? In that case, maybe a little more consideration is not a bad thing. However, if all your analysis points to one conclusion, go ahead – discipline some class members for talking. Just see to it that you do it calmly and fairly.

The uptight yet open-minded approach will have talkative students see your intentions and your honesty. In the end, they will choose to improve by trying to stop talking during lecture times.


7) Speak privately

Woman, Girl, Child, Parent-Child, Love

Sometimes, students who cannot stop talking during classes have to be dealt with in private. In a neutral tone, ask indirect questions like “Do you know why I wanted to talk to you?”

Try to listen and make your student feel you do believe in her/him even if you suspect that he/she is not telling the truth or is saying ridiculous things. Accept the reason even if you don’t feel the student deserves it.


8) Think of a positive behavior program

As you study the nature of a chatty student/s, create a positive behavior strategy that is both interesting and fun. If you notice it doesn’t work as you expected, then another technique might do. One that is motivating is a sure mind-saving tactic, a reward for the most behaved student perhaps, or additional points on the subject’s quiz.

Whatever you can think of, don’t be afraid to try it. If it’s good for the student, there’s nothing wrong with it.


HELP! My Students Won’t Stop Talking! — A video to help you avoid blurting out while teaching.


In Essence

A talkative student in the class can bring many negative effects on the teacher and other students. Other than causing you anger, not listening while the teacher is explaining can result in negative academic outcomes. This is the reason why it requires appropriate action.

The secret: With practice, students may associate your signal that you want them to keep quiet. Consistency is important. Disciplining a class requires firmness on your part. Once you become lenient on some occasions or let them go with the behavior once or twice, your words might begin to lose the punch.

Remember, students’ misbehavior is one of the things that leads to teachers’ burnout.

Do you have some tricks on what to do when students won’t stop talking? Share them in the comments. Teachers would love to hear them!