How to Handle a Noisy Class
"Model the noise level that you want from your students."
Do you worry about the noise level in your classroom?
Even the best-behaved and high-achieving classes can occasionally be too noisy.
And while classroom noise can mean productive learning is taking place among students, here are some tips to help you keep the noise to an acceptable level.
• Never talk over noise or shout to be heard in your classroom.
• Don’t allow noise to get out of control. Once students are very loud, you will have to take extreme measures to get them to stop being noisy. You’ll find it easier if you begin to control noise levels as soon as class begins.
• You should not try to assume control of a noisy class without enlisting the cooperation of your students. Ask for suggestions from your students about how to manage noise.
• Some noisy activities are just not okay. Teach your students that it is never acceptable to talk during a movie, talk when you are giving instructions or lecturing, shout at any time, talk during a test or other quiet activity, or talk across the room to classmates.
• When you plan activities that have the potential to be noisy, consider moving to a part of the building where you can’t disturb other classes.
• Don’t plan group work activities without teaching students how to control the noise level of their groups. One way to do this is by using distances as measurements. For example, students should find a one-foot voice useful for working in pairs and a three-foot voice useful for working in groups. When you give directions for an assignment, tell students the acceptable noise level for the activity.
• Model the noise level that you want from your students. If you speak softly, your students will follow your lead. If you shout, you will dramatically increase the noise level in your class because students will see this as permission for them to shout, too.
• Be consistent in enforcing the noise levels that you expect from your students. Set reasonable limits and stick to them if you want students to learn how to manage their own noise.
Read more about Class Management.
Adapted from First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide, Second Edition, by Julia G. Thompson