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10 Ways to Get Your Students’ Attention Without Yelling

Contrary to popular belief, yelling is not advisable to communicate with your students, no matter the situation. There are other ways to capture your students’ attention without yelling.

1. Set and Maintain High Expectations

Most teachers have set rules and regulations to govern their classrooms. However, it is one thing to draft the rules and an entirely different thing to get the students to follow them. For this reason, you should have consequences for breaking the rules. Your students should learn responsibility and know you mean business.

2. Establish Regular Routines

At the beginning of the school year, create a routine for everything, especially when dealing with young students.

The students should know when to line up and leave the classroom, where to place their supplies, when to put away their snacks, and so forth. Of course, it will take them (and you) time before you settle into the routine, but it will be worth it in the end as you will hardly need to issue general instructions. 

3. Get Quieter, Not Louder

Though it is tempting to yell at students whenever you feel like they won’t keep quiet, refrain as much as possible. Instead, try keeping quiet and wait. The students will gradually get uncomfortable and eventually stay quiet. 

Alternatively, talk in a normal tone and address the already quiet students. For example, you can thank them for keeping quiet. Those still talking will catch up and eventually stay quiet. 

4. Reset Technique

Once in a while, the classroom will become rowdy to the point that the above tips cannot work. In such instances, try a reset technique. For example, instruct your students to rest their heads on their desks for two minutes, whereby no one is supposed to make a sound. This technique allows you to take charge without yelling. 

5. Install a Wireless Doorbell

A wireless doorbell works wonders in aiding you in getting the whole class’s attention. Sometimes you will need to chime the bell a few times before everyone gets the memo, but this technique undoubtedly works. 

Remember to explain to your class beforehand that the bell signals them to stay silent. Otherwise, they will not know what to do after the bell goes quiet. 

6. Use Call and Response or Clap Back Technique

A call and response technique is an interactive way to get your students’ attention. You can say a call phrase such as ‘row row row your boat,’ and the students are supposed to answer ‘gently down the stream.’ The best part about this technique is that some students will chime in, capturing the other students’ attention.

Alternatively, you can impose a clap back technique whereby you clap three times, and all students stand, or they clap back three times. This technique works better with younger students as most love physical activities.  

7. Use Classroom Lights

If you teach in a classroom without windows, try switching off the lights, as this will immediately prompt a moment of silence, allowing you to state your case. 

If your class is somewhat lit, you can incorporate one colored bulb or light cover in the middle of the room. This way, whenever you flicker the colored light, your students know they are to keep quiet. 

8. Stand in the Middle of the Room

When standing and speaking at the front of the classroom, you can easily capture the attention of those at the front. To get the attention of the rest of the class, try standing in the middle of the classroom. 

9. Use a Timer

Typically, there will be a considerable amount of noise as your students’ transition from one activity to another. In such a scenario, you could use a timer to count down until the time everyone is required to be quiet. 

Some digital timers can be projected to the whiteboard, making it easier for all the students to note when ‘talking time’ is running out. 

10. Foster a Good Relationship

One of the most effective ways of getting your students to respect you without having to yell at them is by fostering respectful relationships. When students feel respected and listened to by their teacher, they are more inclined to want to return the same energy. 

For instance, if you talk to students calmly, they will calmly talk to you no matter the situation.

Final Thoughts

Try out different ways to get your students' attention without yelling; we promise that you will instantly feel the positive effects in your classroom.

Written by Steve Ndar
Education World Contributor
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