The chatterbox has a great deal to tell. She has to tell everything that happened at home, over the weekend, what she saw Johnny do on the playground and in the hallway and lunchroom. She sometimes tells things that may be embarrassing if parents knew she repeated at school. There are tips for teachers to effectively deal with the chatterbox at school.
The chatterbox wants attention
Perhaps there are rules or other things going on at home where the chatterbox is not allowed to talk or given the opportunity to really be listened to at home. There are homes where parents are so busy or, unfortunately, so neglectful that children do not get the attention they want or need.
Remind the chatterbox privately about the classroom rule against talking out of turn or when students are supposed to be quiet, such as during a test. Explain that her chattering cannot continue unpunished and give her a warning. Explain that while it is not her turn to talk right now that she will soon have her chance to tell the class what she did over the weekend or to give her report in front of the class, but now it is Johnny’s or teacher’s turn to talk. Explain that this is a warning but that you will have to put her on punishment level 1, or whatever the designated punishment system is in your school.
Consider that the chatterbox just needs someone to talk to. Consider having her “help” you and use that as an opportunity to listen to her talk and give positive feedback, as she helps stack papers, put away books or clean the board.
Sit the chatterbox close to those who do not talk as much
If you have more than one chatterbox in the same area of the classroom, you may never get through the day without having to constantly scold both of them. To get the chatterbox to focus more on how other students act in the classroom, it may be beneficial to have Johnny sit at the same table or next to the children who are the quietest students in the class. Johnny may have been so busy being the chatterbox that he has failed to recognize that other students do not exercise the same chatterbox behaviors that he exhibits. He will start to notice that others do not chatter as much as he does.
Johnny will also realize, through peer pressure, that his chattering is disruptive. If seated close to those who chatter away just as he does, the other students near him are not going to put pressure on him to not talk so much. But if Johnny is seated next to students who abide by the rules and wait to be recognized to speak or raise their hand, then Johnny will soon feel the pressure of the other students to exhibit the same behavior as they exhibit. He may soon start raising his hand, wait until it is his turn to talk and not yell so he can be heard over everyone else.
In the case of the extreme chatterbox
If all else fails, extreme action may be needed. It may be that the child suffers from ADHD or perhaps is on some medication you are not aware of. Talk to parents and see if there is any reason you have not been made aware of for Suzy’s disruptive chattering. Ask parents to talk to her if it gets to the point where it is a real problem in the classroom.
You may set up a reward/discipline system when other measures do not help control Suzy’s chattering. Begin small. Take away five minutes of her recess or extra time at the end of class. Never, ever take away any of a child’s lunch period. There are so many children who receive their most nutritious meal of the day at school lunch, because of poverty or neglect.
If taking away five minutes of recess does not work, then take away time from her extra class, her favorite one. If you know Suzy loves art, but hates gym, it will not be beneficial to take away her gym time! When she is restricted from art class, she does not get to visit with other students or play with puzzles. Suzy must write “I will not speak out of turn” or something similar. Another idea is to have Suzy go sit in the office for art period, as it may be your only free period of the day and you should not have to lose your free time.
You may also want to reward Suzy with a very small reward, such as giving her back her recess or a new pencil or stickers when she has controlled her chatterbox behavior.
When you come to realize the reasons for Johnny being the classroom chatterbox, you can deal with the issue much more easily and successfully. When Johnny has peer pressure put on him, has special time taken away or perhaps has special needs you become newly aware of, you and Johnny both will be more successful in getting through the day at school without having to deal with Johnny’s constant chatting.