The art of not speaking
You are stood at the front of the class and you want the students to be quiet, what are your options? Well, from experience I have seen many different strategies, the most popular three seem to be:
1. Shouting really loud at the children to be quiet and getting angry.
2. Counting down from a number.
3. Standing and waiting.
Let’s look at these in order and see which we believe to be the best answer.
1- Not this one!
2- This works really well, and you will find in most situations this works for you. I would personally advise against a number higher than five! But starting at five and counting backwards will get the class noise to settle down by the time you get to zero, count slowly and take your class, the period of the day and your school setting into consideration. However, this method can create an issue with a small number of classes. What happens at zero and the class are all still talking, or a large group are? You now have been backed into a corner and you have to do something about it, the most important thing to take away from all the rethink tips is “Be reasonable, but whatever you say goes” now you need to take which eats into more lesson time and no one needs escalations Friday period 5.
So, what is maybe the other option?
3- Stand at the front of the room and wait, say nothing, just wait. If you make this part of your routine from the very start, you have a place you stand and wait. One by one the students will stop what they are doing and lookup. This might take longer than five seconds to start to with but make a consistent part of your classroom practice the students will respond in a positive manner. If you still have one or two people not doing what you would like, a very simple “just have a look around the room and see what everyone is doing” or move to stand behind them. Using this method means you do not have to act when you get to zero. It might in some cases take longer, but it has the benefit of not directly leading to an escalation in the classroom.