How to Regain Control When Students Won't Stop Talking

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Welcome to the Lesson Plan Toolbox: End of the School Year Classroom Management Strategies. Teachers reached out to us with some of their classroom management issues, so we’re putting together some basic strategies to offer support. We dive deeper into these strategies inside our Mastering Classroom Management Membership.


Every teacher has experienced moments when excessive chatter and disruptive behavior threaten to derail the lesson and undermine their authority in the classroom. Trust me, as a classroom management coach, I’ve been there! I understand the frustration and helplessness that can arise when it feels like you're losing control.  However, by implementing effective strategies and maintaining a confident, assertive approach, you can regain control and create a positive learning environment. In this comprehensive guide, I'll share practical tips and techniques to help you address excessive classroom chatter and restore order when it seems like your students just won't listen.


Side note: One of the BIGGEST MISTAKES I see so many teachers make when it comes to classroom management is not knowing their teaching style…yes, you have a teaching style. So I am creating a FREE training to help you identify your teaching style and improve your classroom management:) Two birds…one stone.


Now, let’s jump into how to regain control when your students won’t stop talking (especially at the end of the school year!)


The Power of Attention Signals

One of the most effective tools in a teacher's classroom management arsenal is a clear, non-verbal attention signal. Establish a consistent signal, such as raising your hand or ringing a doorbell, that immediately communicates to students that they need to stop talking and give you their undivided attention. Practice this signal consistently, and reinforce the expectation that students should respond promptly and quietly. An attention signal can be a powerful way to regain control without escalating the situation or raising your voice.


The Consequence System: A Necessary Deterrent

While an attention signal can be effective in many situations, there may be times when students fail to respond appropriately. In these instances, it's crucial to have a pre-planned consequence system in place. This could be a system where students lose a portion of their recess time, receive a warning signal such as taking away provided sticky notes, or face another logical consequence for excessive talking or disruption. Consistency is key when implementing consequences; follow through EVERY TIME to reinforce their effectiveness and ensure that students take them seriously.


Change the Pace: Refreshing the Learning Environment

Sometimes, a sudden change in activity or pace can be the perfect antidote to a disruptive classroom environment. Transition to a brief, high-energy activity or game that requires everyone's participation and attention. This can help refocus the class and reset the learning environment, breaking the cycle of disruptive behavior and reigniting students' engagement.


Proximity and Quiet Signals: Non-Verbal Reinforcement

Another effective technique is to use proximity and quiet signals to reinforce your expectations. Move around the classroom, positioning yourself closer to the students who are talking excessively. Your physical proximity can serve as a non-verbal cue for them to stop talking and get back on task. Additionally, teach your students a specific hand signal or gesture (e.g., raising a hand or placing a finger on their lips) that they can use to remind their peers to be quiet without disrupting the class themselves. This fosters a sense of collective responsibility for maintaining a positive learning environment.


Taking a Break: A Necessary Reset

In some cases, the talking and disruption may persist despite your best efforts. When this happens, it may be necessary to pause the lesson and give the class a brief reset. Have students put their heads down or engage in a short mindfulness exercise to help them regain focus and composure. Personally, I always liked taking them on a quick walk around the block to get them up and refocused. Plus, this only took us about 7 minutes and it was WELL WORITH IT! This break can be a valuable opportunity for you to regroup and reassess your approach before resuming the lesson.


Addressing the Root Cause: A Proactive Approach

After regaining control of the class, take the time to identify and address any underlying causes of the excessive talking or disruptive behavior. Is the lesson engaging enough? Are there any unmet needs or frustrations contributing to the behavior? By addressing the root cause, you can help prevent future disruptions and create a more positive and productive learning environment.


Stopping the Lesson: A Powerful Assertion of Authority

In some cases, the most effective strategy may be to simply stop the lesson until your students listen. This direct approach can be a powerful way to regain their attention and reestablish your authority in the classroom. When implementing this strategy, use a firm yet calm tone, clearly state your expectations, remain silent, and wait for complete silence and attention from everyone. Reinforce positive behavior by acknowledging and praising the students who were initially listening or who quickly responded to your request for silence.


Follow through consistently by not resuming the lesson until the appropriate behavior is displayed. This consistency is key to establishing your authority and ensuring that students take your expectations seriously. Once you regain control and resume the lesson, take a moment to address the underlying reasons for the excessive talking or disruption, and consider having a discussion with the class about what happened, why it was disruptive, and how they can better manage their behavior in the future.


Seeking Support: Collaborating for Success

If you continue to struggle with regaining control of the class, don't hesitate to seek support from colleagues, administrators, or behavior specialists. They may be able to provide additional strategies, observations, or resources to help you manage the situation more effectively. Collaboration and professional development can be invaluable in enhancing your classroom management skills and creating a more positive learning environment.


PS: The Lesson Plan Toolbox: Mastering Classroom Management for Primary Teachers is not only a great membership for the unique one-of-a-kind feedback process in place, but also an awesome resource to include on a resume! (Teacher APPRECIATION PRICING Happening NOW: 1 year of CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT support for $57 with code SAVE40!)


Maintaining Positivity and Respect

Throughout the process of regaining control, it's crucial to maintain a positive and respectful approach. Avoid yelling, sarcasm, or other negative behaviors that could further escalate the situation or damage your relationship with your students. Remember, the goal is to create a learning environment where students feel respected and motivated to engage in the learning process.



Excessive classroom chatter and disruptive behavior can be frustrating and challenging, but by implementing effective strategies and maintaining a confident, assertive approach, you can regain control and create a positive learning environment. From attention signals and consequence systems to changing the pace, using proximity and quiet signals, taking breaks, and even stopping the lesson, you have a variety of tools at your disposal. Additionally, addressing the root cause, seeking support, and maintaining positivity and respect are essential components of successful classroom management. By following these guidelines, you can navigate even the most challenging situations and ensure that your students remain focused, engaged, and ready to learn.


We LOVE early childhood and primary teachers! Act now and receive 1 FULL YEAR of CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT SUPPORT with our one-of-a-kind monthly, weekly, and daily format for just $57 using code: SAVE40! Once you join, you will receive IMMEDIATE ACCESS to the famous Student Behavior of the Day Cards:) Join here: Mastering Classroom Management Membership...offer expires May 13, 2024!

Guess What’s Coming…

So many teachers have been asking me about effective classroom management strategies.

And I’ve seen so many make the mistake of wasting months of their time because they don’t know their teaching style. 

And that’s just backwards because knowing your teaching style is like having a roadmap to success in the classroom.


I am putting together a FREE training that would help teachers like you master your teaching style.


JOIN THE WAITLIST to be the first teacher to receive this FREE training!

  • You’ll take a brief quiz to identify your teaching style.
  • You’ll receive your FREE training video for your unique teaching style to help you improve your classroom management.



Did you know I organize a FREE Facebook Group for Mastering Classroom Management? We are gearing up for our summer sessions, so if you’re looking for a simple way to improve your classroom management join the already 200+ teachers that have signed up: Mastering Classroom Management Facebook Group

Your ebook GIFT: Empowering Primary Teachers: Effectively Manage Disruptive and Violent Behaviors in the Classroom.



If you enjoyed the tips in this post, you might also enjoy this video on our 5 BEST Tips for Quieting A Chatty Classroom. Message us and let us know which strategy you found to be the most helpful! We can’t wait to hear from you over on Instagram!



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