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  • Lo.Ft
  • Adventurer

    • 36

    • April 05, 2010, 06:00:25 pm
    • Amnyeong, S Korea
Class quietening techniques?
« on: September 15, 2010, 01:39:31 pm »
Hey there

I am having trouble finding an effective way of quietening the class down. I generally encourage a bit of a rumble when they are working, especially if its in English, but this poses a big issue when i have instructions to give across. I find my self just yelling out quite a lot, but moment you get it across to one group, another group will start up. Sometimes they will only uniformly shut up when they see me angry, thats not cool though.

Ive tried call and response but they do the response, then keep speaking.

I need a way to quieten the students down quickly and without aggression. Some of the students aren't bad kids, they just kids,they just need something that gets their attention that they know they have to be quite to. Any one know a way that works for them?

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 01:43:11 pm »
Just stand quietly at the front.  They pick up that something's wrong after a few seconds.  I've found, in elementary school at least, that some classes you simply can't do anything with.  For everyone else you really need a solid disciplinarian for a co-teacher.

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 01:51:14 pm »
Well, usually  I mix genders because it's social gender for a boy to sit with a girl (in elem. and middle school). 

Like bears, loud noises frighten them.  I rarely do it and don't recommend it, but if it's wild, I hit a nearby desk with my rolled up book.

I clap my hands and do read/repeat until everyone's speaking with whatever the grammar point is, and that's effective.

Otherwise, truth be told, co-teacher should sort those monkeys out.
You get what you give :)

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 01:51:53 pm »
**social torture, apologies
You get what you give :)

  • RufusW
  • Veteran

    • 166

    • June 15, 2010, 08:49:22 am
    • Busan
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 01:58:46 pm »
I also have difficulty.  Saying 'listen' to students of any age should simply work, but I think because other teachers do not enforce silence when they are speaking, the students don't think it's necessary.

Anyway, call/repeat and copying clapping patterns are reasonably effective.  But you can also assign points to tables.  If they are quiet when you say give them a point; if they're last to be quiet give them minus one.

You can then reward/punish according to points.  This could be moving points into a permanent record (their notebook) or simply letting the good table go first from class and making the rest/worst wait a little.
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  • rich
  • Waygookin

    • 12

    • May 03, 2010, 03:17:00 pm
    • Suwon
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 02:10:07 pm »
My predecessor had a really good technique that I've continued. He would count to three and on three the students all shout "Zip!" After that, there is usually silence. If not, the process is repeated. This has worked for every grade in my elementary school.

  • Jediwish
  • Waygookin

    • 16

    • September 07, 2010, 01:18:07 pm
    • Seoul, South Korea
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 02:13:50 pm »
"Like bears, loud noises frighten them."

I'm just about in tears from laughing so hard after reading that.  :laugh:

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 02:24:45 pm »
My class is based on a point system.  Students sit in the same groups, and earn points from answering questions, winning games, etc.  When the class gets too noisy, I usually stay quiet and put my hands on my head.  The students know to do the same.  The first team to get quiet and put their hands on their head get a point.  The last team gets a minus point.  Unless I am angry, in which case no points are awarded. 

This also works for being the first to finish something.  Hands on their head signals they are done (sometimes I have them yell "Finished" with the correct pronunciation) and also tells me how many students aren't finished.  This is a great technique for having them copy something down quickly.

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 02:31:48 pm »
Every class and situation is different of course, but....

I find the most effective thing is to just start teaching something.

If I try to get the kids to be nice and quiet before I actually start teaching, that's impossible.

I start with something they have to repeat after me, even if it's just the title of the lesson. I say it loud, 20 or so of my 45 students will repeat, but another 10 or 15 will get quiet due to the noise from us. I say it again, I have 35 or more participating. At this point I am able to single out one or two who are still clearly not paying attention. I quickly single those two out for some mild punishment (embarrassment, a stern look or shout from me, stand at back of class etc).

After that, the class is mine.

  • pickle
  • Veteran

    • 139

    • June 29, 2010, 01:58:27 pm
    • Cheongju, Chungbuk
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2010, 12:11:32 pm »
I just stumbled upon one last week.  (I teach elementary school, by the way.)  I started counting down from 5, and the kids just started counting with me.  They actually got very quiet!  It was a first in my 7 months here.  I've used it with other classes and seems to work... for some reason, better than some of my co-teachers' established techniques.  But maybe they just need a new one every now and again... it must be boring to have to clap every 10 minutes for 6 years...

  • krb974
  • Adventurer

    • 38

    • April 28, 2010, 09:04:47 am
    • Suncheon
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2010, 12:52:01 pm »
I've been using a 5 countdown since day one.  Often the students countdown with me.  One even has a pretend rocket ship the blastoffs when I get to 0.  I use the 5 countdown when I am switching it up, telling students how much time is left in an activity, or to get their attention.

Most times this works.  When it doesn't I find using positive reinforcement.  I say "girls, good job on being quiet.  Boys, you need to work a bit more on this."  "Group 2, great job, group 4 you're too loud."  When the students start hearing the positive reinforcement, it works.

Also, the class its self is a fantastic moderator.  Find the students who are in charge.  Somehow communicate with them to get the students to quiet down.

  • GreenFloyd
  • Veteran

    • 195

    • September 02, 2010, 06:56:23 pm
    • Hyeonpung, Daegu, South Korea
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2010, 12:57:50 pm »
There are a lot:

* IF you can hear my voice, clap once! If you can hear my voice, clap twice! If you can hear my voice, be quiet!

* "One, two, three, eyes on me" and students say "One, two, eyes on you."

* Get them to make a lot of noise with some gestures, and make them get louder and louder, and then strike your hand down like a whiplash, and silence falls pretty quickly.

* My personal favorite is something called "The Silent Wolf". You put your thumb to your middle fingers, and then your pinky and index point upwards. The pinky and pointer are the ears of the wolf, and they should be listening to the teacher. The thumb is the mouth, which means quiet, and the two middle fingers are the eyes, which means students should be looking at the teacher. You should explain this and when the students see you put it up in the air, they all have to do the same, and look forward, be quiet, and listen. It's pretty effective.

  • Paul
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2055

    • September 21, 2010, 10:28:58 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2010, 09:01:52 am »
I used to do a clapping pattern and once everyone was following, finish it with hands on heads (children have this ever so bizarre quirk where they are simply incapable of speaking whilst their hands are on their heads). Unfortunately, I find Korea has co-opted so many of the typical clapping beats you'll gravitate towards as sports cheers, it ... ahem... riles up a liiiiiittle bit of patriotism in the boys. Avoid. :o

My co-teachers use pre-taught "Look at me <clapclap>" ("Look at you <point>"), "Look at the XX", "ATTENTION!" (echoed). Standing in silence is one of my preferred ones, back straight, hands straight by your sides. The kids tend to mimic it and it requires no training them, but I also use whatever my current co-teacher chooses for consistency.

I can second Anthony's comment about co-opting the smiley/point reward system; that has worked for me and my co-teachers too as it sticks some peer pressure on the students to help their team win smileys.

My favourite I remember from being a child coincidently was the mimicking of zipping one's mouth.
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  • sonya
  • Veteran

    • 238

    • August 31, 2009, 08:54:59 am
    • Wonju
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2010, 09:11:26 am »
My Korean coteachers and I attended a Kotesol meeting last year and picked up the following idea...I use it in middle school and elementary...pretty effective.

Me:  I say 'b' you say quiet...b
Students:  quiet
Me:  I say sit you day down...sit
Students:  down
Me: b...
Students:  quiet
Me:  I say pencils, you say down...pencils
Students:  down
Me:  b
Students:  quiet
Me:  sit
Students:  down
Then I'll throw in with no instruction...YA!
Students give a variety of funny answers...I'll let you discover that one on your own!

I also have a consequence if this is not followed which I believe is necessary for any rule you want to enforce...use whatever works for you and your students and remember that consistancy is the key in whatever you choose to do!


  • Janitor
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 962

    • June 14, 2010, 02:01:32 pm
    • Ulsan
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2010, 09:24:38 am »
After teaching some pretty crazy classes in my time. I feel that Sonya's way is really good. I use the "keep keep" "Silent" technique and it gets alright results. The thing is to be consistent. Reinforce the meaning of whatever you are using and yes, train the students to be quiet.

In the worst cases, I make all the students stand up long enough for everyone to get annoyed and then they sit down. If they get riled up again, I make them all stand up again. This is not one of those stand-at-the-back-of-the-class-until-your-legs-hurt punishments, it is just a quick stand up and sit down. It works because my middle school students hate any sort of TPR or physical motion. So standing up is hard for them. Once they realize that they can sit when it is quiet, they soon learn to police themselves.

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2010, 10:02:24 am »
Students also magically cannot speak when their eyes are closed.  I don't know why....but it's true.  If a class gets really out of control....have them all sit for 2 minutes with their eyes closed.  It's like magic how quickly they are silenced....and 2 min. is just enough time for them to settle and focus.  (you might say, or have their korean coteacher say a few encouraging (or scolding) words during this time). 

When you tell them to open their eyes again, go right to work on the lesson. 

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2010, 10:25:53 am »
I find if the class is too noisy stepping outside of the classroom for a minute or two terrifies them. They need a teacher in the room to make noise. Once you re-enter the classroom they are usually very quiet.

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2010, 12:17:47 pm »
If you can keep them at all after class, I find this is a great tool for classes that really won't be quiet:

I keep the stopwatch open in a background window during class. If the students are loud, talking amongst themselves, and not listening, I do the usual call-and-response thing. ("Listen!" "Care-ful-ly!") I will repeat it once. If they are still not quiet, I alt-tab to the stopwatch and hit "start." The stopwatch goes until the class is silent. Once they are silent, I hit "pause" and alt-tab back to whatever we were doing. This continues throughout the class. Every time they are too loud, they get a warning, and then out comes the stopwatch to continue adding time.

At the end of class, I put however much time they've accrued onto the countdown timer. That's how long they have to sit quietly in their seats after the bell rings. If they are not quiet, the countdown timer is paused, and they sit longer. The timer only counts down if they are being quiet.

Expect them to rack up a minute or more the first time, but after that, just bringing up the stopwatch should make at least half of the class immediately stop talking, and the rest should fall in line soon after.

I find the students respond well to this because it's concrete and definite. They see that they have misbehaved for x amount of time, so they are punished for x amount of time, whether that be 10 minutes or 10 seconds. Of course, if you want to be nice and/or encourage participation in class, you can always have the best students or teams leave when the bell rings and have everyone else wait until the time's up.

  • jak338
  • Waygookin

    • 12

    • October 17, 2010, 10:21:48 am
    • S Korea
Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2010, 05:11:17 pm »
I made signs with simple classroom commands in the front of the classroom.  For example:
-raise your hand
-do you understand
- sit down

Sometimes when I don't feel like doing the usual "clap 1x, clap 2x" attention getter I point to the "Be quiet please" sign.  The kids usually pick up on it fairly quickly.  If the class is pretty bad than I'll smack the sign so the "bang" startles the students that REALLY grabs their attention. 

Saves you from doing some yelling.   

Re: Class quietening techniques?
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2010, 11:28:45 pm »
Students also magically cannot speak when their eyes are closed. 

This is so true. My CT always starts class with the students spending a minute or two with their hands on their heads and eyes closed. This gets them quiet and settled before starting class. During class we use '1,2,3' 'A,B,C' call & response. Works ok.