How to Manage a Talkative Classroom

Written by kathryn walsh
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How to Manage a Talkative Classroom
Use clear signs and signals to quiet your students. (stop talking sign image by robert mobley from

Even if you have a classroom full of intelligent and kind students, they're bound to be loud at some point. You may have a handful of chatty students, or the entire class may lose focus at the end of the day or around the holidays. In any case, a talkative classroom will prevent you from teaching an effective lesson. Start setting the rules for talking in class early in the year and don't lose your patience. When the chatting is driving you crazy, take a few deep breaths before speaking.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Hang the classroom rules in a prominent location in your room where they will be visible to students at all times. Include a rule about when they are and aren't allowed to talk. For instance, you might make a rule that no one should talk while the teacher is talking, or no talking during story time. You might also include a rule about students needing to raise their hands and wait to be called on before speaking. Make rules brief.

  2. 2

    Explain the rules on the first day of school. Demonstrate the correct way to follow each one. Repeat them each day thereafter until students have them memorised.

  3. 3

    Create a signal that shows students it's time to be quiet. For instance, when you raise your hand or put a hand over your mouth, students should mimic this motion and stop talking. You might also try a clapping method. When you clap a certain rhythm, students have to finish the rhythm by clapping along. Whenever you do this action, children should stop talking. Repeat it as many times as necessary until the whole class is quiet.

  4. 4

    Change the seating arrangements. Separate groups of talkative friends. Scatter desks or tables around the classroom so students can't easily lean over and talk to friends nearby. You may need to move students around once a week until you find an arrangement that works.

  5. 5

    Arrange some activities where children can talk. Assign group projects that require students to talk, such as having them share stories they've written. You might also allow five minutes of free time every hour when children are allowed to talk with their friends. It may be difficult for students to stay quiet all day, but it may be easier if they know they'll be allowed to talk at some point.

  6. 6

    Take away rewards if all else fails. Tell the class that they will lose one minute of play time or recess for every minute they're talkative. When there is a tangible punishment for talking, students should try harder to stay quiet.

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