Here are four useful strategies to help deal with the class that just won’t settle:
1. Allow some cooling off time of a few minutes after transitions and breaks to allow them to settle.
Use this time to chat to individuals and small groups, settle them, deal with any problems and establish a calm, relaxed atmosphere.
2. Teach ROUTINES to the students,
Routines are the perfect way to develop consistency in the classroom – they give your students a clear roadmap to follow and reduce confusion as well as excuses for misbehavior. An example of a routine at the start of the lesson is the countdown technique. Mix this with with lots of proximity praise and there is a chance students will develop a habit of quietening down when you ask them… “5; OK it’s time to stop and look this way. Excellent, very quick on that table. 4; pens should be down, books and mouths should be closed, very good you two, you’re listening to me. 3; still too much noise over here, that side of the room are perfect. 2; Just waiting for the last few people now, all conversations should be stopped, hands on the desk in front of you. Well done, you’ve got it. 1; thank you.
3. Have a visual reminder of noise levels such as coloured cards/traffic lights or a ‘noise level meter’.
When green is up the noise level in the room is fine. Orange – warning, level is too high and needs to drop immediately. If it doesn’t drop after an agreed time, red card goes up. Red. Stop the activity, take a minute off break and insist on silent working for 5 minutes.
4. Take control at the door – don’t let them in the room until they’re quiet
The lesson actually starts outside the room – if students are uncontrollable outside the door there is no point in letting them in – the behavior standard has already been set.Spend time speaking to students in the corridor in a friendly calm manner – set the tone for the lesson. Shouting and giving orders breeds a desire to retaliate. When you are ready, tell them to line up quietly, those that do so can go straight in the room and get on with a starter activity. The others either didn’t hear you or are choosing not to. Either way, they need a little more calm persuasion. This is the time to iron out problems they may have, settle disagreements etc. – not inside the room. If possible, please share . I would be incredibly grateful for any help you can give spreading the word.