Mastering the Art of Managing a Chatty Class

All Episodes Edit Delete Classroom Management Series: Mastering the Art of Managing a Chatty Class COHOST MM DYN HELENA HAINS SEASON: 1 EPISODE: 62 Description Chapters Transcript Ever find yourself struggling to maintain order in a chatty class? Crave some innovative strategies to manage your talkative students effectively? Today, we'll expose the three main reasons behind excessive chattering in the classroom and reveal how a simple tool, like movement, can recalibrate their focus. We explore the implications of students' limited and age-dependent attention spans and discuss the magic of brain breaks to keep them engaged.


As educators, we often face the challenge of maintaining order in a chatty class filled with energetic and talkative students. It’s an everyday reality that, while sometimes stimulating, can become a distraction from the learning process. However, in our latest podcast episode and YouTube Video, we discuss how we can master the art of managing talkative students to create an engaged and productive classroom.

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[su_spoiler title=”Mastering the Art of Managing a Chatty Class Transcript” style=”fancy”]Helena Host 00:00 So you started the school year off super excited to get started, only to find a couple of weeks in that your honeymoon period has ended and your kids are a little bit chatty so chatty that even the other teachers start to notice. You constantly have to stop your teaching. You can’t get through a lesson without side conversations and other teachers are telling you how talkative your class is. You’ve decided enough is enough and you’re ready to look for solutions. In the past, you might have tried different things, like Blurred Beans, tallys. You’ve even taken a wee recess away. You have tried to get your kids to earn a class party. You might have even gone as far as to use a clip chart, but nothing’s working. Well, here’s the truth. When it comes to getting your chatty class to focus, there are typically three reasons why your students are being extra talkative in class, and that’s what we’re going to dive deep into today. So make sure to stick around, because you won’t want to miss it. Hey, teacher bestie, my name is Helena and I’m the creator of the present teacher podcast. I’m a first year teacher coach and in this podcast you are going to learn everything from simple, actual classroom management, social learning and teacher wellness strategies. You know that impact you want to make in the classroom. Well, we’re going to make it happen here. 01:25 So the first reason why your students might be extra chatty is because they’re not engaged, meaning that your students are being expected to pay attention and to focus longer than they are physically capable of doing. According to a study done by Diane and Bruce, she found that students can pay attention from anywhere from one to three minutes per year’s old they are. So, for example, a six year old can focus anywhere from 16 to 18 minutes at a time, a 10 year old can focus anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes at a time, and a 15 year old can focus anywhere from 14 to 45 minutes at a time. You might be wondering what does this mean? Well, students might lose focus, not because they aren’t interested in what you’re talking about, but because they are simply aren’t wired to focus on their own. So you might be wondering how do I go about fixing this? Well, the answer is movement. You see, students need movement in order to help them pay attention. You see, when students move around, what was really going on is they’re getting their blood to flow up to their brain, which allows them to increase their ability to focus. Think of this like resetting a clock that’s at the increment. Setting a clock that’s at the incorrect time You’re sitting and dialing it in and getting it back to the correct minute so it can count time and stay on track. The same goes with your students minds. What you’re really doing is you’re resetting them to refocus on you by incorporating movement, kind of like waking up for the body. So you see, students need to reset every once in a while in order to stay engaged. Now you might be wondering how should I go about doing this? Well, the first way you can do this is to actually set a timer, depending on your age group and how often you want your students to move, and then, once the timer goes off, have everyone move around and do a brain break. I have a ton of ideas of different brain breaks you can do so. If you want to learn more about that, send me a DM or put it in the comments down below, and I’d happy to chat about all the brain breaks you can do. 03:41 Now, apart from your students Not being engaged, there’s a second reason why your students are extra chatting class, and that is students aren’t talking enough. Wait, I thought the point was to get my students to talk less, not more. Well, hold on, hear me out. You see, humans are natural social beings and they need to communicate in order to learn and discover new things about them. In fact, some of your students, their learning style might be by speaking and talking about what they’re learning. If we spent our whole school day talking to our students, it’s no wonder they are going to be talking to their peers, a lot like the attention, statistics and study I mentioned earlier. Students need to have a break and move around in order to focus and to Really grasp the concept you just taught. So you might be wondering how do I give my students the opportunity to have Conversations in class without getting off task? This is where structured talking time comes in. This is where you give your students a prompt or a specific thing to talk about so they don’t get off task. So you might be wondering what does this look like? It could be something like asking your students to teach their partner or the group they’re sitting at what they just learned. 04:59 I personally like using a teach okay method. This is from whole brain teaching. I definitely recommend putting that book I will put a link in the description down below, but essentially I’ll tell everybody what we’re gonna do. Or I’ll introduce a topic like Two plus two is four. I have two fingers and then I have two more fingers two plus two is four. And I’ll say model and I’ll have my kids model it and I’ll have them teach. They say okay, they turn to their partner and they practice teaching them what we just learned. It would turn to their partner and say two plus two is four. You know the partner would repeat it back to them. So this is a great method for getting your students to talk and when they say it and teach it, they learn it. So if a student can teach what they just learned, that shows a deeper level of understanding and a deeper Level of knowledge. So it’s really important this is to incorporate this method because it allows your students that opportunity to not only talk and to not be as chatty, but it gives them a prompt and it helps them really grasp the concept you’re teaching. 06:02 Another thing you can do is to have your students repeat directions to each other. You can say okay, when I say pickles, I want you to turn to your neighbor and tell it. Tell them what the directions were Ready, set and then pickles, and then they would turn and tell their partner what the directions are. This is especially gonna help if you are tired of having to repeat the directions Even if they’re on the board. That way, your students have a discussion, they talk to each other about it and they know the expectation. 06:30 Another thing or opportunity I love to have where I provide students the opportunity to have a Guided or structured talking time is when I need to prep something. Now you know especially, just like I do, that when you teach, things don’t always go according to plan. Technology might die. Your presentation won’t Pull on the board, the websites down. You need to reload something. You need to pass something out. You need to prep materials. You get the point. 07:00 Well, instead of everyone coming up to you with a story or get a golf task and having side conversations, give your students a prompt. Instead of you know talking about what they did last weekend, you can say when I say I don’t know plant, I want you to turn to your neighbor and tell them would they rather play Fortnite or Call of Duty? Which one’s better? Then you’ll say plant, and then they’re going to have their conversation while you are fixing. Whatever the situation is. Another great prompt could be if you could have a pet dragon, what would you name it and why? Or something like that? Obviously, this is an opportunity to talk to their friends and it’s structured, so you’re not going to get extremely off task by doing it. 07:45 Giving your students a certain time that they can talk to their parents will allow them that opportunity to be social without interfering with your class. The less, the more time you give them to interact with each other during a structured time, the less likely they are to be to interrupt your lesson. So, apart from quick recap, the first reason why your class might be chatty is because they’re not engaged. The second reason is your students aren’t talking enough. And the third reason is that they are not having clear expectations. Students flourish when they know what’s expected of them. I’ll say that again students flourish when they know what is expected of them. Students typically aren’t following directions on purpose. Typically, they want to make you happy and follow your expectations, especially if you’ve already built a strong relationship with them. So this comes down to your expectations. 08:46 Students may be talking when you are talking because the expectations of what they should be doing may not have been clear. Now you might have pulled them what to do, like when I’m talking or sitting quietly, but did you teach it thoroughly? Did you model what it looked like and sound like? Ask yourself did I explain what it should look like and sound like during this time, or did I just tell them once and then? I feel like I had to constantly put out fires and remind them what they should be doing when I am teaching. 09:16 So you might be wondering how do I get my students to know what they should be doing when I’m talking? Well, the answer lies in procedures. Focus on your procedures. If you want to learn more about procedures, including how to teach them and what procedures you should be teaching, I want to direct you and invite you to go check out the free Master or Classroom Management Guide. In there there’s the top 10 tips of mastering classroom management in the classroom. But essentially, going back to the procedures conversation, essentially you want to teach them what it looks like and sounds like. You want to talk about why it’s important and model the right way and wrong way to do things. Apart from the guide, if you want to learn more about teaching procedures the right way, check out how you should be teaching procedures in the description down below. 10:09 At the end of the day, students will do better when they know better, and it all starts with being clear on what your expectations are in class. So, to wrap it up, those are the top three reasons why you have a chatty class. So to recap the reasons, the first one is they’re not engaged and engaged, and the way to fix this was to incorporate more movement. Now I will say from a personal experience with the little primary kids I take a lot more breaks than I do with the high school kids, and that’s okay. Some classes will require more breaks and some are less, but it all depends on how chatty your class is. 10:47 The second reason why your students might be chatty is because students aren’t talking enough. You’re not providing enough opportunities for them to talk to their peers, so they are naturally socializing when they shouldn’t be, or the expectations are that they are engaged and listening to you. The third reason is your expectations aren’t clear. They don’t know what’s expected of them, so they are just kind of veering off and decide conversations, and the way to fix this problem is to reteach or review procedures. 11:18 If you want to dive in and find out more, I want to invite you to check out the free three day of mastering classroom management challenge and that you can go drawing inside. I dive more into how to use strategies that are going to work for your class, because maybe in the past you’ve used strategies and they just haven’t worked for you. We’re also going to be talking more about how to manage a chatty class and what to do when your students aren’t listening to you. I will put the link in the description down below or you can go to thepresidentteachercom forward slash challenge if you want to find out more. I hope you found this helpful and my question to you is what questions do you have about classroom management? Put them in the comments down below or send me a DM at the present teacher and I’d be happy to have a conversation or maybe come out with more content regarding your question. As always, remember we are stronger together and I will see you in the next one. 12:19 [/su_spoiler]

3 Reasons You Have a Chatty Class

We kick off the discussion by addressing the three main reasons behind a chatty class. In order to get your students to focus, it’s important to identify the root cause for students to be talkative. Consider these 3 root causes for a buzzing classroom and how you can proactively respond to these 3 reasons.

Lack of Engagement

We kick off the discussion by addressing the three main reasons behind a chatty class. The first reason is that students may be overly talkative due to a lack of engagement. Students have been scientifically proven to have limited attention spans relative to their age. Pair that with their innate need to socialize, it’s no wonder that chatty classrooms are an upward trend. Understanding these root causes is the first step in developing effective strategies to manage talkative students.

One strategy we delve into is the incorporation of movement in the classroom. A simple tool like movement can recalibrate a student’s focus and reset their attention. This is especially important given that students’ attention spans are often limited and age-dependent. The use of brain breaks, short breaks designed to help students mentally rest and reset, is another effective method to keep them engaged.

Structured Conversations

However, it’s not all about suppressing chatter. We also explore the idea of giving students structured opportunities to converse. This can bolster their engagement and focus, as it allows them to socialize in a controlled and productive manner. Techniques such as using prompts, implementing the Teach-Okay method from whole-brain teaching, and establishing clear expectations are all discussed in detail.

In the Teach-Okay method, for example, teachers give instructions or introduce a topic and then prompt students to teach it to their peers. This not only provides a structured opportunity for students to converse but also helps them better understand and internalize the concepts being taught.

Establishing Clear Expectations

Establishing clear expectations is another key aspect of classroom management and mastering a chatty class. Instead of merely verbalizing the rules and guidelines, it’s important to teach students what it means to follow these expectations. This can be achieved by modeling the right behaviors and consistently reinforcing them.

Ultimately, managing a chatty classroom is not about suppressing conversation, but rather about directing it in a way that promotes learning and engagement. It’s about bridging the gap between the need for order and the desire for engagement, creating an environment where students can thrive both socially and academically.


Overall there are three main root factors to a chatty class. Which includes:

  • Lack of Engagement
  • Structured Conversations
  • Establishing Clear Expectations

The journey to mastering the art of managing a chatty class is one that requires patience, understanding, and innovative strategies. However, with the right approach and tools, it’s entirely possible to transform a chatty classroom into an engaged and productive learning space.

If you’re ready to dive deeper, with your permission we invite you to download the Free Master Managing Your Classroom Guide. This guide reveals the secrets to confidently running a smoothly operated classroom.

If you are ready to take it a step further, we invite you to confidently master having a smoothly run classroom in just 3 days with our FREE 3-Day Classroom Management Challenge.

As always remember:

Best Wishes,

Helena <3