doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Classroom Management Challenge

Yesterday, I read and shared this article.  “15 creative & respectful ways to quiet a class.”  It’s packed with great ideas and is a good read.  The best advice appears at the bottom.

Remember there is no “magic bullet” what will get all students’ attention all of the time. Don’t get frustrated! Constantly having to refocus your class is a normal part of teaching. Take a deep breath, smile, and and keep encouraging your students. You can do this! And please, share your favorite tips for guiding students to quiet down in the comments!

My Twitter friend Linda Aragoni was all over this in a heartbeat.

She’s got a point.  I know that when I used to sing a song for my Grade 12s, that would increase the noise as they tried to drown me out.  Back and forth, she suggested…

And even offered to help.

How’s that for a challenge?  So, to you middle or secondary school teachers or college/university professors, how do you quiet a class?

I’ll start with a couple of things that I found worked for me in Computer Science classes.

  1. Consider your expectations.  In my Computer Science classes, I didn’t have the traditional “solve three problems” and then hand them in.  The programming requirements was actually a continuum of things that ran from mid-September until mid-June.  When a student had a problem to be assessed, they just called me over and we looked at it together on their computer.  More often than not, this resulted in students getting to class early, loading their program and asking me to mark it;  (added bonus – no marathon marking sessions…)
  2. Give the students ownership of the society curriculum requirement…instead of me providing examples of computers in society, students were encouraged to bring in their own stories or to talk and assess a current teachnology issue – even how computers might have been portrayed on a television show from the previous evening.  Students do have respect for each other when they own the floor.  As blogged previously, students got to show off their research with bulletin boards as well.

Having said all that, I’ll admit that my Computer Science classes were among the noisiest going but I like to think it was good noise.  There’s nothing better than students working/arguing in groups all the while on topic.  Having said that, there were days when I wished for a magic potion.

So, gentle reader in the older classes, please consider sharing your tips in the comments below.  Linda has promised to promote your wisdom.



2 responses to “Classroom Management Challenge”

  1. My room is noisy. Well most of the time. My problem comes when I try to lecture (which I try not to do too much). Letting the room get noisy when the students are working on a project seems to make it harder to get them quiet when I want to talk to the whole class. Sometimes speaking quietly works. They start to wonder what I am saying. Yelling pretty much never works. Occasionally prefacing things with “this will be on the test” works as well. 🙂


  2. Kristie Bell (Guest) Avatar
    Kristie Bell (Guest)

    Hello, my name is Kristie Bell and I am an EDM310 student at the University of South Alabama. Here is a link to my EDM310 Class Blog and personal blog as well Kristie Bell. I will be summarizing my visits to your blog posts on Sunday October 20, 2013. I just wanted to say that this was a great topic to write about because it is a popular issue that many teachers deal with on a daily basis. I also agree with your Twitter friend Ms. Aragoni when she said most of these techniques are for young kids instead of the older age groups. However, it seems you handled your classroom quite well and you are certainly right about not all noises being “bad noises.” Students are suppose to debate and discuss topics among groups, which means at times the classroom will be loud. Your blog was very interesting to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!


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