5 Procedures to Use if Students Aren’t Listening to You

Wondering what to do to when your students aren't listening to you? Hear are 5 procedures to teach them.


You’re eager to start the year off strong, but you’re struggling to get your students to follow directions and your students aren’t listening to you. In this blog post, we’ll delve into five essential procedures you should teach to help your students become active listeners and direction followers.

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#1 Class Call

The first procedure you should teach if your students aren’t listening to you is a class call. When you need to regain your students’ attention, it’s essential to have a procedure in place. Some teachers use doorbells, but I prefer a versatile method – the class call. 

It’s not just about what they should say in response; it’s about what they should do afterward. For example, if you say, “Macaroni and cheese,” they should respond with “Everybody freeze” and then stop, look, and listen. Model the procedure, discuss its importance, clarify what it doesn’t look like, and practice it. This procedure is crucial for quickly refocusing your students and transitioning between activities.

#2 Whole Group

The second procedure you should teach if your students aren’t listening to you is what they should be doing during whole group instruction. Establish clear expectations for how your students should behave during whole-group instruction. 

I learned this concept from Teaching With Joy. Use the acronym ALTVV: Active Listening, Track the Speaker, Still Hands, Listening Ears, and Voices Off. Provide a visual reminder, model the expected behavior, discuss what it should look and sound like, and refer to other related procedures, such as seating arrangements.

#3 Talk to a Partner

The next procedure you should teach if your students aren’t listening to you is how they should talk to a partner. Teaching your students how to effectively interact with a partner is essential. 

Implement the “Peanut Butter and Jelly Partner” concept, specifying how they should behave when talking to their partner. Outline what active listening looks like, what partners should do when they’re speaking, and how to convey that they’re listening. Describe both the visual and auditory aspects of this procedure.

#4 Ready to Share

Another procedure you should teach if your students aren’t listening to you is to show you they are ready. Ensure your students know how to signal that they’re ready to share with you. 

Establish a “ready signal” and explain what it looks and sounds like. I personally use a thumbs-up when students are done with their work or speaking to a partner. Emphasize that this signal is for communication with you, not their peers. Clarify what’s expected when they’re working with friends.

#5 Independent Work

The final procedure to teach your students if they are having a hard time listening to you is what they should be doing while working independently. Define the expected behavior for independent work. 

Cover topics like how to work with materials, working at a “0” noise level, specific voice levels, and where they should work in the classroom. Ensure students understand what it means to be engaged independently and how to ask for assistance when needed.

Wrap Up

Overall, teaching these five essential procedures can significantly improve your student’s ability to pay attention and follow directions. Each procedure serves a unique purpose and contributes to a well-managed classroom. If you found this information helpful, make sure to check out part 4 of this series. For more classroom management strategies, consider joining our 3-day classroom management challenge.

As always remember:


Helena <3