What you say

15th October 2004 at 01:00
* "If you're trying to have a class discussion which is dominated by one or two strong characters, why not use a toystickrelevant object and give it to the pupil who is allowed to address the class. When another pupil wants to add to the discussion, give them the toystick. That way the pupils know who has been given permission to speak and who hasn't." Paisley Pattern

* "Let's nail the lie that chatter somehow impedes all learning. If the reaction is from the teacher (it drives you mad), rather than from the pupils ('we can't concentrate'), then the teacher needs to take a long hard look at their assumptions as to what makes a good lesson. If the work is of good quality and of the appropriate level, then what is the problem?" WD

* "Why is talking considered 'bad' behaviour? Just because a child's actions don't comply with classroom management strategies and are disruptive for the teacher, doesn't mean it's a behaviour problem. Surely it would be more proactive to teach chatty children not to be quiet, but rather to channel their talking to an appropriate time and place. Verbal self expression in children is natural and healthy. Learning to take turns and listen is a good strategy for developing communication skills." klb123

* "Whenever I'm going to have a discussion, even if it's only for a short time, I always try to give the kids time to talk to the person sitting next to them. It need only be for a minute, but it gives them the chance to get rid of some of that 'must-have-my-say' attitude." Sharky

* "Using a stopwatch can work well, but I prefer to use it as a carrot rather than as a stick: how quickly can the class all be listening? Keep a record on the board for them to try to beat, and praise their improvements, however small. Keeping the whole class behind because of a few offenders can work, but, if many of the children listen well, it doesn't help build a constructive relationship with the teacher. 'Put your hand up if the person next to you is talking' can be effective if most of the class is listening, but a few are still chattering on. Then point out that the majority are waiting for the chatterers, give them a 'how disappointing' look and move on.

"Persistent talkers can find it extremely hard to change their habits, and making them feel bad about themselves may just make things worse. It can be tempting to use put-downs to shut them up, but I wonder whether it is ever really effective in helping children to think about their actions."


If you want to contribute to next week's behaviour forum, go to www.tes.co.ukbehaviour

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