How to deal with student who cannot stop talking?

Wai Cheng - posted on 09/27/2009 ( 41 moms have responded )

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I got this 13 year old boy in my math class who can't seem to be able to stop talking. He will just add in a comment as and when he likes in the middle of my lesson. Most of the time, his comment is either not relevant or insulting or simply stupid. Then one or two of his classmates will argue back. I often have to stop him and find it disruptive to the lesson. Appreciate if someone can share with me how to handle this kind of student.

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Laura - posted on 11/08/2009

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I teach 7th grade math. I have a "give me 5" for lessons(eyes on speaker, lips closed, ears listening, hands, feet and object quiet, sit up straight). I also have what my team calls the "list". The first time a student disrupts class they get their name on the list, next time they disrupt class they get a check mark in the warning box, the third time they get a check in the edge box, the fourth time they get moved to a chill zone where they have to read and sign the classroom rules. The student remains in the chill zone(no talking, no getting up, no participating in group activities) until class is over unless they continue to disrupt then i remove the student to a focus room(the teacher next door). Most of my students don't make it past the edge. My talker ended up in the chill zone 5 days the first week I used this and now a 6 weeks later he makes it their only about once a week. The list is kept by a student, I just say Bob is on the list and the list keeper keeps track until a studnet reaches the edge then the list keeps will say Bob is on the edge, this helps Bob and me to know the next step is the chill zone.

Charity - posted on 10/19/2009

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Have you ever used an action plan? I am a firm believer in giving students the tools to manage their behavior. Conference with both students individually and have each student fill out a survey (using a Likert scale...scale Always-Never or 1-5) for each to rate how he views his behavior. I then have the student circle the behaviors he feels he has control over. What you will find interesting is there are many behaviors which the child feels he does not have control over (sleeping, off-task). Then have the student choose one of the behaviors to focus on for the week. It is important you let the student choose; do not choose it for him. The point is to empower the student to manage his behavior. The student creates a positive goal (I will talk at appropriate times.) Then student write 3 steps to reach his goal (1. I will not talk when the teacher is talking 2. I will focus on the activties 3. I will raise my hand to talk). Now, keep the plan and have the student approach your desk at the end of class each day to checkmark if he thinks he was successful with his plan for the day (you will need a tally box for the week for him to do this on the goal paper). After 5 days conference again to discuss how the plan is going. Ask if he feels he improved and give him verbal recognition if he did (even if he moved from never being on task to being on task 2 of 5 days this is an improvement that needs recognized). The 2 of you decide if he should continue with the plan, create a new plan or go it on his own for one week. Whatever the choice is post conference again at the end of the 2nd week. Otherwise, he will think you no longer have interest and will revert to the old ways.



I teach HS and this works for even my most difficult students. If the student shows no sign of improvement at the very least you now have written documentation of how you tried to intervene with his behavior. The next step would be to conference with him and the principal at the same time about the plan he chose not to attempt.

Lynette - posted on 11/15/2009

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I am a middle school administrator, and if that is your only problem, God Bless you!
I would suggest eating lunch with the student every time he talks. The only way to get respect is to develop a rapport with him. The only way to do that is to get to know him. If he goes a few days without interrupting, then find out what he likes to do and REWARD him. PRAISE him EVERY time he doesn't interrupt!

Jayme - posted on 11/17/2009

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I think that all the suggestions regarding a consistent consequence for the behavior are right on track. I also think it would be important for you to find the underlying cause for his outbursts. Is his just looking for attention, negative or positive? What kind of attention is he actually receiving when he has these outbursts? Is there somewhere in the classroom that you can place him where he is less disruptive, but also still involved in the class? Another idea is for you to give him an outlet for the outbursts. Possibly a conference between you and him everyday where he can just talk to you, maybe even about his thoughts on the lesson. I have a student who gets out of her seat all of the time. So, today I came up with the idea that she gets three "out of her seat" tickets a day. If she gets up out of her seat without my prompt, she has to fork over a ticket. Once she runs out of tickets, she can't get out of her seat anymore unless I tell her to. This will hopefully cut down on the trips to the kleenex box and pencil sharpener. Maybe you can do something similar with your student.

[deleted account]

Tell him he's only allowed to say a maximum of 10 words. If that doesn't work sit him right at the front of the room with his back to everyone else. If that doesn't work then make a phone call home and make him tell his parents what he has done wrong before you speak to them - normally scares the hell out of most kids.

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Amal - posted on 01/11/2010

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students like that you should cut them off from the others by making him sit in the corner of the class, if he doesn't respond to that u could leave him sitting alone and tell the students not to laugh or argue with him when he talks..u could cut off marks from those who make a fuss..plus ignoring him will give u a great result, don't pay him any attention..

Pam - posted on 01/10/2010

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I've used this before and it works !! I say" you know for you to interupt me and always have something to say means that you NEED alot of attention. So class, lets give him alot of attention so he'll be satisified and we can continue on with our lesson" The class then turns and stares at him, following my lead. We stare and stare, usually the interruper will either start laughing or be so shocked that he shuts right up. I've used this twice and it worked with both boys. I later tell them that I'd like to give them the positive attention they crave by prasing their awsome work. They both buckled down and gave me great effort from that day forward.

[deleted account]

Have you called a staffing with his parents? Called them to report his behavior? Asked other team teachers if they have the same issue? then how does it effect the class? His grades? I know several boys with this similar problem have gone on to do very well in college. May be undiagnosed ADHD. If it doesn't impact his learning/grades I would put him on a behavior card. report home every day after your class. Good Luck!

Peggy - posted on 12/30/2009

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I am new to second grade this year and have found this particular class to be full of 'chatty cathys'. I use the consistent rules with consequences however, I have found that what works today may not work tomorrow. When the first talker begins, I hand my check list of names to a student and ask them to please put a check by children who talk without permission. The children all know the consequences for one, two, three checks. When this does not stop one or two, I will hand something special like an extra point or an M&M to the quietest student without slowing down what I am saying/teaching. This gets their attention and they get really quiet. Another ploy is to use the MEAD Board. In the middle of an example, I will walk the room while explaining what we are doing and randomly hand the Mead Board pen to the quietest student and ask them to write the answer on the board. They are allowed to choose the next student to come to the board but must choose someone who is quiet and in their chair. If they choose the talker, I remind them of the rule without calling a name and ask them to choose again. This works the best as they all want to write on the Mead Board.
But I agree that the reason for consistent interruption must be addressed and have found contracts with the child in question to work quite well. The main thing to do is to be consistent even when it is easier not to be.

[deleted account]

I am so glad I found this group. I am a teacher too, who is always trying to find ways to keep kids quiet. There are some awesome suggestions in this conversation. Thank you everyone!

Ana - posted on 11/24/2009

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I´ve been teaching for almost 14 years and I´ve always had at least one or two "sweet little devil" of various ages, for sure each case is a different one, however I see your sweet angel wants to drag attention to himself. Try to ask him to be your helper and have him writing on board and doing things for you in class, this way he´ll be busy and on the spot.
However with this you might have problem with some other angels that want to be on the spot as well, so try to elect the helper of the week by raffling a name, so if this angel gets chosen 2 weeks in a row, it´ll be considered his luck by the rest of the class! ( SS will not doubt that you got his name on purpose)

Karen - posted on 11/22/2009

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:) I offer them duct tape to help remind them of the rules! They volunteer to put it on themselves.

Amber - posted on 11/20/2009

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Give them a behavior contract with consequences and rewards spelled out. They sign in and you sign it. Each of you get a copy. When they are breaking a rule, ask them what they are doing wrong, or what rule they are breaking. Stick to your consequences.

All of my classes are for lower achieving middle school students, so I give my contracts to the whole class. That way, when there are students that verbally retaliate, they still get the same consequences. It seems to work really well for me.

Good luck!!

Kathy - posted on 11/20/2009

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I am a middle school math teacher, 7th grade to be exact. What i do with these students is i put up their name (you can do it individually, groups or whole class) on the board and use tally marks for every time i am interupted or feel that student is being inappropriate. Each tally represents one minute owed at lunch. Be sure to erase tally marks to reward good behavior so that students will see that you're fair and want to work to earn the points off. I did this for one class and it took just a few days to nip it in the bud.

Good luck!

[deleted account]

I keep them after class. The first time I call their name-15 seconds. 2nd-45 seconds (total) After that I will contact home. So far it has only taken one phone call home :)

[deleted account]

Quoting JAMY:

Give him a job to do in your classroom so he feels valued in a different way and wont need others attention...
Havea one on one discussion with him about how disrespectful he is being to you ..
like " Listen josh, from the first time you walked into my classroom i n=kneew i liked you and was goingto enjoy having you in my class. Well lately i ahve bee nhurt and disappointed by your behavior, you are making hard for me to teach and your class to learn. Can you tell me why you think this is happening.... alot of times when you open up a kid to ahve an honest dialogue with you.. you can discover what makesthem tick and when they see you are genuinely interested in them and ant them to succeed they will usually turn it around especially boys... if all else fails kick him out of your class and let the guy making the big bucks handle the kid... it is nto fair to therest of your class to let this continue



This sounds like a great idea! I may have to try this.

[deleted account]

How about an entire class of fourth graders who think that what they have to say is the most important comment ever and will finish it no matter what you say or do?

Edisa - posted on 11/09/2009

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I think you should have classroom rules, but something like Laura does, give him warnings, visually, so he could see where he is at, don't even talk to him, just mark the space where he is on the chart, eventually he will see that you are serious, and that you will not be the only one to deal with him, and hopefully he will realize his mistake and will stop...

JAMY - posted on 11/08/2009

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Give him a job to do in your classroom so he feels valued in a different way and wont need others attention...
Havea one on one discussion with him about how disrespectful he is being to you ..
like " Listen josh, from the first time you walked into my classroom i n=kneew i liked you and was goingto enjoy having you in my class. Well lately i ahve bee nhurt and disappointed by your behavior, you are making hard for me to teach and your class to learn. Can you tell me why you think this is happening.... alot of times when you open up a kid to ahve an honest dialogue with you.. you can discover what makesthem tick and when they see you are genuinely interested in them and ant them to succeed they will usually turn it around especially boys... if all else fails kick him out of your class and let the guy making the big bucks handle the kid... it is nto fair to therest of your class to let this continue

Elsa - posted on 11/07/2009

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Most children that talk in the middle of a lesson and cannot stay still is because they have some kind of hyperactivity and with that comes impulsivity. You might want to sit alone with him and talk to him to let him know what he is doing and ask him if there is a way that you can help him or remind him not to do it. Letting the other children offend him is not a good thing. I have a rule in my class... we are a family and we work together and help each other out. I would never allow name calling or let other children handle a problem by arguing back. Hope this helps.

Erica - posted on 11/07/2009

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Give him another outlet: write the comments down i & have a journal like exchange each day; whisper it to himself; be a class reporter & write the comments in a paper that's published each week (edited by you or another student--appropriate stuff, of course); sit him in the front row & he can whisper them to you; give him a tape recorder & he can record them...Set up some kind of a system for him to express his comments like 1 every 5 minutes & have a reward system...

Holly - posted on 10/31/2009

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If he doesn't have an attention disorder, then he definately needs consequences. If you truely want to get to the bottom of it, give him a detention and make him write about it. Otherwise, your rules are your rules and he has to obey.

Angela - posted on 10/30/2009

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can you figure out what he is "getting" out of this behavior. Kids do not do things for no reason there is allways some sort of "payoff" If you can detirmine what "payoff" the student is getting (either attention, escape, seeing you get thrown off, etc) then you can work to change the situation so that payoff no longer exists. Next you will need to find a time to conferences with him breifly before class set a clear expecatation such as "when I am talking and you have a question or a comment you must raise your hand. If you do this then you will recieve X however if you forget or fail to do this then you will fail to earn x" Make sure he restates the expectation to you and make sure you follow though wiht what ever you decided his consequence for good behavior would be.



Example:

if you discover he is doing this for attention and you give particpation points each day you could do the following!



set expecation with child that "when I am talking and you have a question or a comment you must raise your hand. If you do this then you will recieve full credit on your particpation points however if you forget or fail to do this then you will fail to earn credit for your particpation points"



Then during class you would ignore the behavior continue wiht your class. You might drop him a note letting him know he lost his points or discuss it with him after class.



This would be based of of applied behavior analysis which is a fantastic study and would help wiht lost of different behavior issues universally!

Londa - posted on 10/29/2009

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I have a student in the 9th grade that does the same thing. At first I just thought he was rude but come to find out he has asbergers (sp) and is lacking in social skills. I have found that proximity helps. I put him as close to me as possible. I have spoke to him outside of class and talked about the ques I would give him when he was talking out of line. .....It really depends upon the student and the circumstances. I hope this helps a little

Heidi - posted on 10/24/2009

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Lots of good suggestions! I am a middle school teacher and have had my share of chronic talkers as well. Definitely check to see if this is a sp. ed. student first and if so, consult with the special ed teacher to create a plan. If the student is just your typical chatty middle schooler, definitely look into seating. How are your desks arranged? I have two talkative boys this year. One functions best right up front near me so I can use proximity to keep his chatting to a minimum. Another works best way in the back so he can see everything going on but everyone else is facing the front, therefore he has no one to look at / talk to.



Like mentioned before, be consistent. Tell the class that no talking is allowed while you are teaching. One of my favorite techniques with middle schoolers is to dramatically STOP my lesson when students are talking and say, "You know, I HATE when people talk when I'm talking, so PLEASE let me know when you are finished, I'd HATE to interrupt your conversation." Middle schoolers don't like this kind of "public humiliation." I don't call out specific names, as this usually makes all side conversations stop. Stop and wait. If your constant talker keeps going, remove him to a time away area and definitely, definitely call home and get the student's counselor (or whoever else is support staff at your school) involved.



Good luck!

[deleted account]

I would give him and the class times when they could talk. You guide the class discussions, this makes him accountable and yet it's time for him to talk. This may work, and it may not. Boys at that age are immature and it also seems like he's seeking attention, which comes from home.

Helen - posted on 10/22/2009

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I am a special education teacher so my view will be from that point of view. Is this kid in Special Ed? Chat with the advocate teacher if he is and see if there are any tools, tricks, or ques to use on him. I work with students who do have that impulsive problem with talking and being off topic. So, I usually first lay down the rule/foundation that students are not allowed to talk unless their hand is up and they are called upon by me. I rehearse this with them on a daily basis. I also have a couple of phrases I use. If they are talking while I am instructing, without missing a beat, say, "It works best if you listen while I talk." Motion to him and then to you as a visual cue. Another phrase I use is, "My turn to talk. Your turn to listen." Use what ever visual cue you think is appropriate. Worse case put him outside for 5 minutes. Don't put a timer on or anything, but then rehearse with him that his constant talking is preventing others from learning and he's being rude.

A couple of times doing this he should get the picture. Hope that helps.

Kathy - posted on 10/16/2009

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What are the consequences for talking out? He knows he can do this without repercussions which is why he does it. Have rules and consequences posted in your room and stick to them. The best place to get input for your list is from the students themselves. They are tougher on each other than you'd think. Have one warning for breaking a rule then a consequence and stick to them without discussion. God bless anyone with the patience and gift to work with middle schoolers! There is a reason why they have their own schools! {:^D}

Jessica - posted on 10/14/2009

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what we learned to do is discuss with the child that he can make an appropriate comment x times in the class. you then reward him if he stays under or meets that mark with whatever motivates him. it is ideal to find an intrinsic motivator first, if not an extrinsic motivator will have to do. also maybe it would be helpful to discuss what comments are appropriate and when. some children do not have that innate ability even if it is assumed they do.

Megan - posted on 10/13/2009

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I think there needs to be a consequence. I had a student in 1st grade who could not stop talking no matter what. His comments weren't always smart comments, sometimes he would just talk to himself. I spoke with his parents and they talked with him about this. I had to move him away from the other students. He could not be near anyone or he would talk. Some may think of this as a punishment, but away from the other students, he did not distract them and his comments happened less often.

Irene - posted on 10/03/2009

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I agree that it should be done in a setting where you can talk with the student one on one. I teach 11th grade and find that disciplining during class always gets the kids going. It is tough not to get "angry" or rattled at the student during class but sometimes ignoring the problem until the end and asking the student to stay after works.

Jenni - posted on 10/03/2009

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I work in a school where this is a constant issue amongst the building. I know that the students will be quiet during a lesson if you allow TALK TIME. Yeah, yeah..."we" don't have time for that. However, if one student ruins it the talk time that was set for after the lesson is taken away. The other students are told to address any issues they have with others taking form their personal learning process on their own time not mine.

Kristine - posted on 10/01/2009

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At the beginning of my class, as the students arrived, I would post a brain teaser or challenge on the front board.

(My favourite was trying to make an equation using only the numbers 1,2,3 and 4 to equal the date. There are always multiple answers, so it keeps the kids busy. I find usually one or two students get addicted to this game, and work ahead for each day! For example, today is October 1st. Two sample answers are: 4-3x1 to the 2nd power. Or 3x2-4-1. You can use brackets, order of operations, exponents, etc. but you MUST use all 4 numbers only once each in there somewhere. )

Kids would see how many answers they could get. I would usually award bonus points. For every five bonus points, I gave them an extra percentage in their homework scores. If students didn't want to do the challenge, they just talked quietly until everyone else got there. We checked the answers together, then I started the lecture. I found kids listened better after a chance to talk. Maybe ask this boy if he wants to work with a partner. If he listens without interrupting for 5 minutes straight, he can work with a friend for 5 minutes. Bargaining usually works for kids that age...find out what he wants then trade it for time on task without talking. :) (Tip if you play the game the first time...record the student's answers down in a book to create your answer key as you go..add to it each year)

[deleted account]

It would depend on the child himself. Without knowing the child its a toss up of many different things. Is he an only child? Are the parents busy? Has something happened at home that is occupying his mind? Does he find math boring or difficult? Is he generally not liked by most of his peers? There are many things I could suggest but it depends on the child. Do you have a school counselor?

Jenny - posted on 09/29/2009

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I have a group of 7th graders that have the same problem...talking all the time.

Kalyn - posted on 09/28/2009

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I am also a middle school math teacher and I find if you talk with him and let him know this behavior is unacceptable because he is taking away from his classmates learning. Ask him if he feels he is more important than any other student in the class and why he thinks disrespecting his classmates, by taking away from there learning is appropriate. Then let him know it will not be tolerated and if it continues his parents will be called and then follow through. I hope this helps!

LaVonda - posted on 09/28/2009

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I always had a classroom rule that no one talked while I was talking unless asked to respond to a question. This rule followed the same consequence escalation as anything else: verbal reminder, segregation from peers, call home, p/t conference. Kids think it is a small thing. But, if you treat it as seriously as it is (disruption of the learning process) they usually get the message. Also, build in opportunities during the work period for the students to share and have on topic talk. This lets them know that you don't have a problem with talking as long as it is respectful and contributes to the learning.

Tierra - posted on 09/27/2009

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What is the consequence for him disrupting the class? Whatever it is, or if there isn't one I would suggest you enforce one. If he can't handle being amongst his peers maybe move his desk to a more isolated area of the room or even right next to to you, or maybe deducting some points from his grade for the day every time he's disruptive. Whatever the consequence is it has to be CONSISTENT, from the smallest disruption to the loudest. Eventually he'll get the point.

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