Students Who Talk Out During Class Time…
I don’t know about you, but being interrupted while you are talking gets under my skin. It’s almost as bad as when someone lies to me. In either case, it is rude behavior! Call it impulsive. Call it attention seeking. Call it whatever you want. It just needs to stop.
Guess who can stop it…YOU! By setting and following through with the expectation that talking out is prohibited in your classroom, you will be dealing with the behavior of talking out at such a small scale that it won’t seem like a bother at all.
So how exactly can you get to this point? By involving your class.
On the very first day of school, and for several days after, involve your class in discussions of how they would like their classroom to be run. Guide them in identifying that respect, responsibility, and safety need to be at the core of their classroom expectations.
Talking out is a violation of respect for others and a violation of responsibility as a member of the classroom. Identify and review these expectations until everyone is sick of hearing them. Practice what it looks like to NOT talk out. Establish and practice the respectful way to get their thoughts and feelings heard. Do this consistently and you will be well on your way to establishing and maintaining peace from talking out in your classroom.
What if you have missed the window of setting expectations in the beginning of year? Or perhaps you set the expectations but have not enforcement them and now you feel like you have lost all control by mid-year. No worries! Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start for us all. Hold a class meeting and pretend as though it is the first day of school with a new class of students. After all, once you get back on top of enforcing positive behaviors, they will be a new class! Negative behaviors will drop, stress levels will drop, and productivity for everyone will increase. Nice!
If you are in the boat of needing to start over mid-year, be prepared for some resistance from your students that may not have existed when it was truly the beginning of the school year. Over the last several weeks and months they have gotten comfortable with you and comfortable with using behaviors that you are trying to change. It is expected that even after you establish classroom expectations students will attempt to reengage in their old behaviors. The ONLY way to squash this is to follow through on consequences that you identified together for when an expectation is not followed. It may take several times of doing this before they realize that you mean business. You have no choice. Hold your students accountable and they will respond.
All kids will test the limits. Even after you think things are better, there will be the occasional blip that you will need to respond to immediately. The saying is true, “Give them an inch and they will take a mile.” If you want positive behaviors to stick around and talking out to stay away, then be consistent and follow through on positive behavioral supports. Beleive me, everyone will be better off when you do.
You’ve got the power – use it!
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Barb, LMHC, CPC, Ed.M, CAS