Harry Wong
Dec 2017
Vol 14 No 4

Advice for Subs: How to Keep Students Quiet and Listening

By Barbara Pressman

How Can I Have Students Maintain Quiet so that I can Speak?

Dear Barbara,

I have a problem getting students to remain quiet long enough for me to give directions for their work. Sometimes I can convince them to be quiet, but it never lasts very long. I must be doing something wrong.

Courtney, from Madison, CT

Dear Courtney,

Your problem is not unique. You seem to be able to get the attention of the class, but then you loose them. Experienced teachers develop an aura and a look. Their students know they mean business.

As a Sub, you need to develop that aura so that students see that you’re just as serious about maintaining quiet as their regular teacher. They may not know you very well, so body language and confidence are extremely important.  Once you have the attention of the class, pause for an extended period of time. Let the silence permeate the room.  When you start speaking, use a lower, softer tone. They’ll realize that they must be quiet to hear you. When you don’t try to shout or talk over students, they will see that you’re calm, in control, and you command respect.

Once students are quiet, compliment those who are following directions and listening. Focus on them. Others will follow. Begin to present your lesson and give directions. If some students continue to talk, stop, look directly at them, and don’t continue until they stop talking.

With practice, you will develop just the right technique. It’s a powerful tool!




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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 and is filed under *ISSUES, Barbara Pressman, March 2011. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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