1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Is there ANY answer to this?!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by maggieDD, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    I have read countless articles about noisy classes and have tried many, many strategies but there are some classes (I teach 19 each week, art) that simply CANNOT work at a reasonable noise level. They can do silence (for a very minimal time period) or VERY LOUD. I am constantly stopping the class and telling them that the noise level's too loud. I have a noise level chart on the wall and I explain that we are at level 4 and we need to be level 1. It starts off ok then it ALWAYS creeps up to level 5 after a couple of minutes.
    HOW is this managed?! I can't pinpoint who the instigators are as they all seem to get loud at the same time? WHAT'S THE ANSWER?! (as you can see, this is seriously driving me NUTS)

    Thank you :)
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. KRkazoo

    KRkazoo New commenter

    As uncomfortable as it feels, start with an honest appraisal of self as you are the common denominator. You could ask another teacher to come in and do a peer observation, in order to help with suggestions. If you ever have a TA, it might be useful to ask their opinion. You might just find a small adjustment changes everything.
    A couple of things to try ,if you have not already, could be revising your seating plans, or try using background music as this sometimes helps to keep students quiet.
    Or you could start to put in sanctions for the first ones that raise the volume, that might stop some in their tracks.
    I would start from scratch and from the moment they come in the door the only thing you are working on is sound levels. If necessary, get them all out each time they are too loud and begin again. Meet and greet at the door, sit down get out work...

    I am presuming you are in a mainstream secondary school??
    Stiltskin, JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Perhaps you could devise a routine and teach the routine. Imagine what you want. Perhaps something like this:

    Have some calming music playing when students enter the room. Do you have a routine for entering the room? Routine would be:

    Line up quietly outside the door.
    Meet students as they enter sensibly
    Have some calming music playing
    Students quickly take their seats
    Get out exercise book and copy date, title, review spellings, last lesson, etc. ( something to have them working while you take the register). This is all in silence
    They don't speak unless they raise their hands.

    Have three rules:

    Follow instructions fast
    Stay on task
    Work without disturbing others ( this includes noise levels).

    If they are reading or writing something then they need to work silently.

    If it is group work or pair work then they need to as you say speak quietly to the next person - not across the room.

    Every time they start to get too loud. Stop and ask them to work in silence.

    See if you can spot the main instigators. Then have those students make up the lost time.

    Have a stop watch and each time you have to stop and ask for noise levels to be reduces, have the main instigators make up the time after school and during that time they can catch up on the work they didn't do because they were stopping you from doing your job.

    This is a big issue and I see it a lot in schools while on supply.

    Don't despair you are not a lone. This can be cracked, but you will have to put some effort into it.

    Perhaps be honest with them. The noise is affecting their learning and you are trying to resolve it for their benefit.

    I have found with some classes even on supply that if I am honest with the classes and tell them I need their cooperation, they will cooperate.

    Let us know how you get on.

    I might get some ear plugs. LOL
    KRkazoo and JohnJCazorla like this.
  4. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    Thank you for your replies :)
    I teach in two primary schools, the majority of which are well behaved and respond to my classroom management. There's one particular year 5 group who are relentlessly noisy, disruptive and completely out of control. When I spoke to their teacher, he told me FOUR teachers have left in one year because of them! I have tried making them go outside again, line up and return in silence (sometimes more than once). I have tried calming music, meeting at the door, task to be getting on with on their tables, noise level indicators, rewards, consequences, the lot. One boy was writing and scribbling on the table with oil pastels today! They seem to be beyond repair and their teacher's presence makes not one iota of difference. :(
    pepper5 likes this.
  5. KRkazoo

    KRkazoo New commenter

    Shame! Some year 5 groups can be tough. I would still do as pepper5 suggested and have a talk with them, perhaps set up a reward system for those who achieve an acceptable noise level. Phone parents and get them on board. Then you can use the behaviour policy to sanction those that still refuse to comply.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Good idea about phoning the parents. Perhaps the parents could come and volunteer as noise monitors until the class cooperates.
    Alice K and KRkazoo like this.
  7. GladRagsAtMidnight2017

    GladRagsAtMidnight2017 Occasional commenter

    I think the issue may be getting the class teacher on board, because if they can't control it how will anyone else? Anyone drawing on tables stays behind to clear it up at end of lesson. If you have to keep stopping the lesson, put a visual timer up on the board of time they will owe you back at end of lesson.
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    My class are a rather noisy bunch if left unchecked. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to talk over them. It takes patience but has started to work. What is your volume like? Mine are often louder if I am. Talk to them more quietly and calmly.

    I also choose a secret student. If that person works to expectations, everybody gets a house point. If that person doesn't, I don't reveal who it was to the class but I speak to them about it individually and quietly. They hate letting their peers down and soon learn.

    I use music to calm the atmosphere during less structured activities like art. Repetition and practice of routines if they're too noisy also helps, such as re-lining up. Practise getting their attention with them and reward for getting it right. Ask them to show you a whisper. Reward for getting it right.

    On the sanction side, I use a blurt list. They get one warning for being too noisy/shouting out and then each time after they lose a minute of play. It is showing results very quickly.

    Keep the kids busy with a task to do straight away and use your main culprits for errands like handing out materials, etc.

    Have confidence in your own expectations. Have you "negotiated" rules with them yet? It might be worth postponing your art lesson to spend some time doing something around expectations and consequences.
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    If you can ponpoint who is talking in your class, then the layout and seating plan may need to change...
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    That should be 'if you cannot pinpoint who is talking...':cool:
  11. galerider123

    galerider123 Lead commenter

    Keep your volume very, very low at all times. Make their noise level come down to you. If you need them to stop and listen, use hand signals (eg a hand up) when you need them to stop and look at you. Reward prompt responses. Teach then how to alert their partner if they notice and their partner hasn't, without talking (a gentle nudge and point). Teach them how to whisper. Get them to practise it. Reward the whole class when they can do it for 5 minutes/10 minutes/20 minutes/the whole lesson.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    Thank you for your replies.
    I really have tried all of your suggestions - apart from contacting parents. None of the parents know me and I wouldn't be comfortable contacting them as the outside art teacher. I have spoken to the class teacher and he's told me he will provide some of his classroom management tips, but to be honest, I can't see what he'll offer that I haven't already tried. The only way I can describe their behaviour is as if they're pre-school children but aged 9! Today, whilst I was explaining the rules AGAIN, three children literally came up to me and asked me questions (unrelated to what I was talking about). I spend the majority of the lesson repeatedly quietening them down to give instructions, but they'll ALWAYS be someone mumbling somewhere. When they start work, if left unchecked the noise level gets ridiculously loud.
    I teach 600 children per week, and no other class is anywhere near as bad as this one.
    pepper5 likes this.
  13. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    It seems from what you write and some of the classes I have taught myself that this problem is common: noisy classes where the students are not being badly behaved in the usual sense, but that they just cannot stop chatting and they speak louder and louder.

    Try to observe the class when their class teacher is teaching them to see how the class teacher deals with the noise.

    Have you tried teaching them to whisper as galerider123 suggests? Also plenty of praise when they can do it.

    It is a very hard situation for you maggieDD since it makes teaching very difficult. I had a couple of classes like this yesterday as a supply teacher and it is exhausting to ask the class every few minutes to lower the noise levels and these are older children in secondary.

    Perhaps as a last resort, if you can pinpoint the main culprits, then the class teacher can phone the parents.
  14. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Sorry but it won't change.
    I have classes like this and nothing changes.
    I've tried everything..................EVERYTHING..........and nothing changes.
    I'mlooking for a way out.
    pepper5 likes this.
  15. maggieDD

    maggieDD New commenter

    I feel your pain! I am beginning to think that this particular class are not going to change (if that's how they've been for their entire time at primary, according to their teacher). So, whilst it feels like I've let them 'win', for the sake of my sanity (and I do think part of the problem is my feelings of inadequacy that I've failed to 'train' them) I'm going to have to let that one particular class carry on. I obviously won't let things get out of control, but I will have to tolerate 45 minutes of loudness :(
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Perhaps getting the class teacher to phone some parents.

    There has to be a solution somewhere.

    The other thing that occurs to me is that for those who can't follow the instructions, they don't get to do the art lessons. You should not have to work under such conditions.
    galerider123 likes this.
  17. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Sorry but nothing changes.
    All the management strategies and interventions in the world do not and will never work.
    Because we've all been doing them week in, week out, year in, year out and nothing changes.
    If it did then we'd all have our classes pretty well behaved and compliant by year 11 at the latest, and there'd be no need for this forum.
    A sad state of affairs indeed.
    The only way I can get my classes to behave to my required standards is to lower my standards.
  18. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    I'm presuming the noise level is related to them not actually doing what they should be doing? In which case the problem seems to be that they know that they can get away with it, there is no consequence to their actions. If everyone is making noise then it's hard to pinpoint the cause of the tipping point.

    (Apologies if you've done some of these already, but I would try the following) First step is to get a copy of the behaviour management policy and see what it says about the stages of escalation. Secondly talk to the teacher and check what they do to try and keep some consistency. Then, when you're in the class, explain that if the noise level gets too high they will have to work in silence (I hate working in silence but needs must) for 5 minutes, or some other set time. Once/If the noise level gets too high then stop the class, get their attention and say they are now working in silence, that if they speak during this time then X will happen (from the policy). As they are working silently praise them and give a commentary on how long they have left until they can talk again. If someone speaks without being asked to then do it, no second chances. Keep escalating if you required.. Then after five minutes say you don't expect them to work in silence now but if noise levels increase you'll go back to silence. And so on. This could take some time to bed in, depending on how quick they learn, but eventually they will learn to self police themselves.

    Oh - getting the whole class attention, say in a voice that they can hear that you want their attention and cont back slowly from 5 (showing the countdown on your hand at the same time seems to work better I've found). Start loudly at 5 and slowly lower your voice as you get to 1. Praise anyone you see who is sitting quietly as you do it. Wait a couple of seconds at then end. If there is some still speaking then sanction them as per the policy..

    Good luck, Im sure you'll get there in the end.
  19. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Problem is there is only one sanction left.......................detention. Anything else (like not going on a trip) is against their human rights. And who else gets the detention? The teacher.
    And detentions don't work as the same students are in D/T week in week out. They simply see it as an occupational hazard of being in school.
    geordiepetal and pepper5 like this.
  20. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    It doesn't have to be detentions, but it will depend on the schools policy and to be effective it needs the backing of the SLT. In Primary, I've seen being sent to a different class/year group to do some work as being effective. Getting the parents in also can work. As for not taking them on a trip, if their behaviour would put them or others at risk then you absolutely have the right to put appropriate actions in place (e.g. they can only go if accompanied by 1:1 support from the AHT. That can't be done, then they can't go)

    Ideally sanctions are a last resort, used to help influence their behaviour. If they keep ending up in detention, the sanction is worthless and so a different approach needs to be taken. In which case the appropriate person in the SLT needs to address the problem (sending the child with the problem to them can get them to take more notice I find).

Share This Page