Many thanks to Steve Coppin from The Life Skills Company for this list of ideas.
These were summarised from a poll of colleagues he has worked with in education - so mixed approaches and I suspect, mixed results. Remember to use these with your student context in mind Maybe some will work better for you than others - some I don't use at all!
Regaining the attention of students after activities i.e. getting them back to SILENCE before starting to speak.
Different people use different approaches; the GOLDEN RULE is the same - NEVER start speaking until you have absolute silence from ALL the students.
for those times when silence doesn't come quickly:
Be stronger in the introduction about the "RESPECT" rule - lots of examples - labour it - make it MORE specific by saying that ONLY ONE PERSON SHOULD SPEAK AT A TIME.
Explain WHY - emphasis should be on the need to enhance learning - ie respect is not only for the individual to be heard but for the other listeners.
Never break this rule yourself. Come down hard on the earliest culprits and then ease off with more gentle methods. Don’t get on the "slippery slope" in the first place.
Give a reminder - "I can not allow this lesson to continue whilst more than one person is talking as it means some will not be able to hear" ie you are asking for the good of others.
Always reward/praise/smile at them for becoming silent - reinforce positive behaviour.
Say "Thank you" to the whole group and then reinforce the behaviour you want by going over and saying "Thank you" to specific table groups who are already quiet and talking them up.
When they are busy/engaged/excited - EXPECT the return to silence to take one minute - not instant - stay positive and expectant.
Raise your hand in the air and say "OK lets get going .. thank you"
Use music when doing the exercise and stop it for when you need to speak.
Use a video clip straight after a break or exercise – don’t introduce the video - just play it - and as soon as it stops - start talking
Turn the projector off for an exercise - and turn it back on to talk/get silence
Walk towards those who are talking - stand close to them
Raise a hand to THEM (STOP)
If only one talking - give them strong direct eye contact with NO smile whilst continuing to talk for a few seconds and then stop.
Set specific time limits for activities and use a countdown to warn them "one minute left", "30 seconds left", "finish off what are doing NOW"
Use the "countdown music" to let them know about the last 30 seconds and then stat talking immediately
For persistent offenders - give them the choice - "John right now you are affecting the learning of this class, which I can't allow to continue, so I would like you to choose - either work with us, give the others respect or you may have to ...?
Do allow some take-up time
Make sure your workshop/lesson is so engaging that they are waiting for you - not vice versa!
Be well prepared with NO pregnant pauses when students can start to talk.