The Chatty Child

Anyone got some masking tape?....I know it's what you feel like doing to that annoying student who just refuses to STOP TALKING! But really is talking so bad anyway?

The chatty child comes in all ages, shapes and sizes, genders and cultural backgrounds. They can sometimes be seen as 'bubbly','effervescent' or even 'delightful'. They can also be the child that is forever minding other peoples business (I swear they have eyes in the back of their heads) as even when they are sitting in the front row, they can tell what the child up the back of the classroom is doing- I have two of them in my class. Mostly the chatty child is just plain annoying! It is easy to lose your temper with them as they continually talk over the top of you or other students.

So what is the answer?

  1. Give them a speaking job. This may be to make announcements to the class or reiterate an instruction you have just given. If you speak with them about this before hand and let them know that you will be calling on them often to repeat instructions to the class, it will help them to feel important, give them a chance to speak and most importantly, they will have to be listening to the instruction in the first place. I have a couple of very chatty girls and boy in my year 4 class and I often ask them to repeat (in a positive way) to the class the last instruction I have just given. I tell them that for the next 30 seconds they are the teacher and they have to let the class know what is happening.
  2. Set up a signal with the student. This will allow the student to know that you need them to stop talking without you verbalising it and interrupting your teaching. This could be a simple tug of your ear, or a raised eyebrow, but make sure you let them know beforehand what the signal is and what you expect them to do when it is given.
  3. Let the student know how their disruptions make you feel. Take the student aside and in a calm manner speak to the student about how their constant chatting makes you feel. You could say something like 'You know Georgia, I feel sad when you keep talking when I am talking. I understand you are just wanting to talk to Joanna about her weekend but I really need you to stop and listen when I am talking'. Often this makes the student realise that their actions have caused you grief and they will (hopefully) want to make things right.
  4. Allow times during the day for chatter.Make sure you allow some parts of your lesson for quiet chatter. This may be during art or other activity where the student doesn't need to be totally concentrating. Group work is also good for these students as it allows them a chance to talk but at an appropriate time.
  5. Use incentives. You may want to discuss with the student that if they can make it through parts of the day without disrupting the class then you may reward them with extra hundred numbers (see incentives in this website). This may increase as the time goes on. Make sure this is done in a way that other students are unaware or you will end up with a class of chatty kids wanting extra tickets. Make sure you also acknowledge positive behaviour like 'Gee Georgia, I love the way you are working so quietly, well done.'
  6. Use 3 strikes. If the above strategies don't work then you may have to resort to the 3 strikes method ( see this website). The student will need to understand what they are being carded for, and so talking to them beforehand will be beneficial.

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