Question Detail

Verbosity in my 5th grade class, help!

Apr 17, 2013 5:49am

I'm a new ELT teacher in a school in Chile, actually the only ELT teacher in the school.
I have this two amazing kids in my 5th grade that cannot stop talking everything that they think. I can ask them to be silent in English or Spanish but they just don't incorporate the command.
Their families are not very interested in that issue because they don't consider it a problem.
The rest of the kids get distracted and they have started to shout them up in a very agressive way during the classes.
I'm a little frustrated but I keep calm because I know I can do something to help those kids... the problem is what..¿?

  • Foreign Language
  • 3-5
  • Behavior / Class Culture / New Teachers


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    • Apr 29, 2013 5:52am

      It sounds like verbosity is their strength. Knowing what you know about them, how can that strength be regenerated into the lesson or into their production or study? I recall a speech give by a prominent scholar. She commented that she was a talker in class and all of her teachers scolded her for her outbursts or distraction of other students. She said, " If just one teacher would have seen into the future, they would have realized that my chattering was my strength that I am using today to speak to thousands of educators." So, can you put them in a position in the class to communicate at a level that is more beneficial to the whole class or small group. Also, how can the pair benefit themselves by working on a project together and using that communication strength to teach others?

      • Apr 21, 2013 7:32am

        It does sound like your kiddos are doing a bit more blurting than storytelling. I have never tried this strategy, but have read about using discussion chips. Each student gets a certain number of poker chips (or beads, etc). When he/she shares, they give you one of their chips; when the chips are gone, he/she is done sharing answers. However, you hate to stop other kids from being "able" to participate because they don't have any chips. It would definitely be a management strategy that would have to be fine-tuned by you to really make it work. But perhaps the tangible chips would help them see how much blurting/sharing they are doing.

        • Apr 23, 2013 10:32pm

          Hi Tamara Herrera,

          I hope all is well there!

          1. Do not allow to sit them together in the class
          2. Give them different lesson or exercise to do. In this way, you will be successful.
          3. Allot them activities separately. Disconnect them in the class. In this way, They can be become responsible person as well.

          I hope that you will utilize these tips and feedback me, Thanks.

          Kind Regards,


          • Apr 17, 2013 9:32am


            It sounds like an amazing opportunity to be teaching in Chile. As for your two chatters, are they staying on topic and are just coming off as a little precocious or do they tend to stray from the topic and that becomes distracting? If they are truly on topic and are contributing in a way that could be helpful, maybe you could provide them with enrichment work, where they could record a summary of the class discussions, but they only can do it if they are respectful during the lesson. They could be like news anchors and outline the most important aspect of class on a FlipCam. To prepare, every time they have a thought, they can write it down as info for their "show." Giving them a specific job may distract them enough to stay out of everyone else's way.

            Are the parents not interested in having a conversation because of a cultural barrier or because there is a lack of support? That would impact your next move as well.

            Good luck!

            • Apr 21, 2013 7:33am

              One final idea is to keep a tally of when they talk at an inappropriate time. Then look at the data and set a goal with each of them to get that tally down for the next day (or whatever time length works for you between goals). Eventually, the students might even be able to keep their own tally.

              It can be a tricky balance between acknowledging that they have great ideas and making them feel ashamed for sharing or talking. You have a great positive attitude!

              • Apr 22, 2013 11:35am

                I too like the "turn and talk" method to encourage discussion. I enoucrage them to keep talking until they hear me say the attention getter. This allows me to listen in to the groups to see if they are on task. It also lets me see if someone is not sharing. I can then identify why they aren't sharing. This can be a quick intervention that I can provide before we move ahead.

                Another idea that I have seen on this website is to point their thumbs back at themselves in a back and forth way as if saying, "me too" without actually saying it.

                • Apr 22, 2013 8:37pm

                  What about a reward system if the kids are quiet. If quite for so many days, they get a reward, if maybe month, the class gets a reward. Try to get more of the class involved so they can also share in the authority and responsibility in maintaining classroom discipline.

                  • May 1, 2013 1:31am

                    "Amazing kids..." That is so great! I'm so glad that they're in your class and that you can see that! Classroom routine, specifically allowing "talking time" at the beginning or end of class and insisting that students raise hands before they speak may help. (Of course this wouldn't be just for them, but for the whole class.