Working with a noisy class?
Want to learn a quick and easy trick for controlling the noise levels?
First we need to know: why is there so much noise? Are the children talking about the learning, or something else entirely? Listen in!
Take into consideration any pupils with ADHD, who might display excessive movement or calling out, find out more in our article ‘Why kids with ADHD can’t hear you.’
Most educators today, recognise that teacher led ‘chalk and talk’ isn’t always the most effective way to help students acquire new skills.
Numerous studies of brain development and function back this up.
Scientists have proved that the skills of processing, storing and recalling information are all enhanced when we connect talking, moving and learning.
Of course, there are obvious physical links between exercise (movement) and alertness, due to increased oxygen to the brain.
But, now scientists have also discovered that neural pathways are strengthened when pupils talk about what they are learning; meaning that they’ll be far better able to understand, remember and recall information later.
We know that children learn best when they talk and move. They are not designed to be stationary, silent creatures.
So, what we’re aiming for in class then, is a learning environment in which pupils can interact and engage with each other, but at a reasonable volume level which does not distract or interfere with the learning of others.
A clever idea for teaching and reinforcing the expected noise levels is to display a noise-o-meter.
A visual representation of the level of noise that is acceptable, according to the activity the pupils are doing.
For example, you could make a dial to represent the expected noise level for each lesson:
- 0 silent working
- 3 partner working
- 5 group working
- 7 presenting in front of whole class
- 9 playground voice
The trick to making this strategy a success is to teach pupils:
- what each level means
- the expectation before every lesson
For example, during a quiet reading session, the noise level might be set at 0 (short sessions only!). However, when pupils are expected to collaborate on a group project, a more appropriate level would be 5.
When you’re initially training your pupils into this system, you’ll need to stop the class occasionally to remind them of where the noise level should be.
And remember to look for times when the noise level is appropriate and recognise and reward the whole class with praise and attention.