Particularly toward the end of term, there comes a time when every teacher eventually has to deal with a noisy and unruly classroom. Noise impacts a student’s ability to learn and damages motivation, and how teachers react to their students being noisy often sets the tone for the relationship between students and teachers inside the classroom. Before trying to figure out ways of asserting authority or reward/punishment solutions, consider first why students are being loud and how you can address the impulses behind this activity.
Here are the top ten techniques that other teachers use to manage a noisy class, applicable from pre-schoolers to high-schoolers.
1. Get Your Students Involved
Trying to take control of a class without procuring the cooperation of students is prone to failure. By soliciting their opinions and suggestions about how to manage noise in the classroom, they may better recognise when their volume levels are reaching unacceptable levels and what is expected from them.
2. Teach Students to Handle their Noise Levels
When planning group activities, make sure you also teach students how to control noise levels within their groups. Have them figure out how loud their combined voices carry over distances, in meters or arm-lengths. A voice suitable for one arm (or foot) is good for working in pairs, while a speaking level suitable for working in groups shouldn’t disturb others past two arms or three feet. Now, when you give directions for their group activity, you can instruct students about the appropriate noise level.
3. Be a Role Model
Students will look to you as an example of what is acceptable behaviour. If you shout in response to noise, students see this as tacit permission to be loud. This training them that being noisy is the only way to be heard over the noise of others, rather than regulate their own noise levels. If you only speak loud enough to be heard by those who are paying attention, students will often follow along rather than miss out on the information they need. Remember that children are hypersensitive towards hypocrisy.
4. Decide Early How Much Noise is Acceptable
While noise levels by necessity must be arbitrary and depends upon the number of students, classroom environment, types of activity - it’s important to set for yourself the amount of noise that is acceptable. Your students should come to appreciate that you’re not shutting down their right to express themselves, but only when it is disruptive.
5. Be Consistent
It’s important to consistently enforce acceptable noise levels in the classroom. Even if students are getting too enthusiastic about the lesson, remind them about undesirable volume limits. Stick to the boundaries you have set to help students remember when it’s appropriate to manage their own noise level.
6. To Be Mindful of Others
Remind students that noise causes discomfort to other people. There are others working around them and that you need to hear from students that are paying attention. Remind them that good students are those who are mindful of others. The golden rule is important for getting anywhere in life.
7. Be Confident in Your Own Authority
Remember that if you do not feel you deserve the respect of your students, you may not really expect to find as much compliance as you would want. You’re the Boss of the class, and your instructions are always given with a goof reason. A teacher must first be a leader, and how your present yourself determines the level of positive response you receive.
8. You Set the Atmosphere
Remember that if you’re not showing any energy towards the lesson, students are also less likely to focus on what you’re saying. When you’re lively and excited about what you’re saying, your enthusiasm will spread through the room.
9. Examine Underlying Factors
At the end of it, it is the teacher’s responsibility to manage the classroom. Monitor yourself if you’re making excuses for mismanaging a misbehaving classroom. If things aren’t going well in the lessons, it may be because of your policies on misbehaviour. Being noisy may be a symptom of a deeper learning problem, at school or perhaps at home. A teacher can only do so much by creating a warm and inclusive environment for learning, but sometimes things need a more personal approach.
10. Reward Students Who Show Good Behaviour
Praise and give incentives to students who are quiet and attentive though the lesson. Allow them to leave earlier, or in the case of younger students allow them more time with books and toys. Those who are talking too loud may be told to stay back for a couple of minutes after the class end. There is no need to call attention to it, soon enough the message that good behaviour earns rewards will sink in.
Good luck with the rest of term!