It’s not only the students’ behavior that affects the class. Other non-behavioral issues can affect the class too, which you need to control immediately. Let us discuss some of these in detail here.
In a class, some amount of noise like sharpening of pencils, zipping and unzipping of bags, notebooks or books falling down, scraping of chairs and desks, etc. is normal. However, you must take care that the collective noise doesn’t reach a level high enough to distract you as well as students. You need to remember that the collective noise could be a fun idea for the students to irritate you. So you need to nip any such effort in the budding phase.
A very effective way of dealing with collective noise by the class, intentional or otherwise, is taking a pause. If you are speaking to them, go silent. Even if you are in the middle of a sentence. If you are writing on the board, stop writing. And fix the class with a stare. The strictest one you can manage!!
The change in rhythm will snap the students out of whatever they are doing and slowly you will have the attention of the whole class. At that point of time, ask them to maintain silence if they want any teaching to continue. And then carry on as if nothing happened. Students will concentrate more than they were before your strategic pause operation. And you can pat your back silently when you finish the class without a hitch, with a few minutes to spare.
It’s not only airplanes that get hijacked. When the class does not proceed according to your plan but in response to activities playing out there, it is called class hijack. Your class can get unwittingly hijacked by overenthusiastic students if you are not alert and lose valuable lesson time. This can happen due to academic or non-academic reasons like −
Discussion on topic being taught moves in a new and unrelated territory
You get carried away in responding to students’ doubts
Resolving a dispute between students takes lots of time
Some students repeatedly disturb the class and you are unable to control them quickly
To prevent class hijack you must always be aware of what is going on in the class and how it is eating away into teaching time. Don’t lose sight of the learning objectives of the session and strive not to miss them. Here are some steps you can take to do that −
Reschedule discussions − Postpone any extra discussions to after you have finished teaching. But remember to do that so students believe they will get their share of time.
Take quick action − Nip any disputes and disturbing activities by the students in the bud by taking immediate action. Don’t wait for it to die down. If there is someone you can refer it to, like the discipline in-charge or class teacher, do that.
Keep students in loop − Explain to the students they have a syllabus to cover. You will be surprised by their willingness to cooperate when they are made responsible for their actions. You will find students asking each other not to disturb the class.
Children and young adults are excitable by nature. When you enter a class you may be surprised to find them in a hyperactive state due to any of these reasons −
A stimulating discussion had occurred in the previous session.
They have come back from games or other co-curricular activities.
They are anticipating an interesting activity like field trip, workshop, or live discussion after your class.
Seeing the children in such an exhilarated state of mind is always pleasurable but you have teaching to do. Here are some steps you can take to bring the class back to normalcy −
Give time out − Ask the students to calm down and drink water. Remind them that they need to proceed with the next class.
Have a short discussion − You can have a short discussion with the students to help them get over their excitement. Just take care to maintain order in the class and ensure they speak one by one, or you will have a chaos at your hands.
Talk to other teachers − If you find the students in hyperactive state regularly for a certain class, you can talk to the teacher of the previous session. You might be surprised to find they are in habit of leaving the students with a thoughtprovoking question to exercise their minds further. Request them not to do that frequently as it hampers your teaching.