How to Handle Students Who Habitually Call Out in Classroom?




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It’s no secret that students who habitually call out in class are disruptive and can be distracting to other students. Yet, teachers often hesitate to address the issue with the student because they fear it may cause the student to withdraw or act out angrily. What should you do?


What is Calling Out in the classroom?

Calling out is when a student interrupts the teacher to ask for something. This can be an interruption of the lesson, but it can also be making some sort of request, asking for help or clarification on an assignment, asking permission to go to the bathroom, etc. Calling out has had some controversy recently with some suggesting that teachers are being too hard on students who call out.

Students often call out for clarification or to ask a question while teachers are teaching or during independent work time. The classroom management strategy called “wait time” is designed to discourage students from calling out by giving them time to think before they ask for something.


Why Do Students Habitually Calls Out in the classroom?

There are many reasons why students call out in the classroom. There can be several causes – from over-excitement to lack of understanding, all reasons could affect performance and learning outcomes.

Here’s a list of possible causes:

1) Lack of concentration and focus

Some students are simply just impulsive by nature. They may not mean to say what they say, and simply just release the words that come out of their mouths. Also, these students mostly have a short attention span, hence having low concentration and focus. That sometimes causes them to call out during lessons.  


2) Over-excitement and high energy

Some students call out in class because they are excited about something or eager to answer questions. This is especially the case for students who are over-excited by nature – usually constantly jumping up and down out of sheer excitement at one point in time throughout the day. This can work two ways because depending on the context of their behavior it could be either positive or negative. If excited students are raising their hands to answer questions, this is good for the class as they are showing eagerness to participate in lessons and contribute towards learning outcomes. However, if excited students are constantly distracting other classmates with constant rambling and fidgeting, this can be a negative display of behavior and can affect learning outcomes.


3) Laziness and boredom

In class, some students call out because they are lazy or bored. This is the case with any student who is not engaged or interested in what is being taught. These students would rather engage themselves by talking to friends sitting next to them as opposed to paying attention to their teacher. This can result in students not being able to learn the material being taught, which is one of the main reasons why they call out.


4) Lack of language or communication skills

Students may call out because they are facing language or communication issues. Students who fall into this category may have learning disabilities such as ADD/ADHD, lack knowledge of the language used by their teachers, or may not be able to speak fluently in English. This can cause major problems in the classroom because students who are struggling with language issues cannot understand what they are being taught. They will eventually become frustrated and start calling out – distracting other classmates who are trying to learn the material at the same time.

5) Not getting enough attention from peers/teachers

Some students, especially those seeking a sense of belonging, call out because they want more attention from their peers or teachers. This can be a huge problem for teachers because it causes disruptions within the classroom. Students who are constantly calling out are usually ones who need constant attention and love to hear themselves talk. These students will continue to call out until they get the response that they are looking for. This is usually in the form of being kicked out of class, but with students constantly calling out to get attention it can cause major disruptions in lessons.

6) Disruptive behaviors such as swearing, yelling out, and talking back to teacher/peers.

Students may also call out because they are affected by disruptive behaviors such as swearing or yelling at teachers/peers. These students with behavior problems will cause commotions in the classroom and will get to a point where they simply just can’t control their behavior. Whether it is because of stress, lack of attention, or something else – students who fall into this category usually have issues controlling themselves when emotions start to boil over. This can be a huge problem in the classroom as other students may find it difficult to learn with disruptive behaviors occurring around them.

7) Behavior problems such as ADHD, Tourette’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A student may call out habitually because they have behavior problems like Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Students who suffer from disabilities such as Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome may not be able to understand what is being taught in the lessons. They might also find it difficult to communicate with teachers/peers, which can lead to frustrations and cause them to call out. This problem varies between students who have these disabilities.

8) Being Curious about an Answered Question

Certain students may tend to call out because they are curious about a subject or question not answered during a lesson. This can be a major disadvantage to teachers as some students might call out because they want to know the answer to a question that was just asked. Students may not understand why their peers or teacher do not answer their questions and feel more inclined to ask someone who will listen – this usually leads to disruptions within the classroom. This problem varies between students and how curious they actually are, but there is usually a solution to reduce the number of times students call out.

9) Not being able to understand the material being taught

Some students call out because they are bored and don’t understand what the teacher is teaching. This is especially the case with students who are eager to answer questions – not being able to understand what is being taught can cause frustration for these keen learners. Teachers need to ensure that all of their lessons are engaging to students and that they are not just giving the same explanations every lesson. This can result in students who call out because they do not want to be bored, which usually causes disruptions for other students as well.

10) Poor teaching methods and styles

Students sometimes call out because they are simply bored with what is being taught. This usually occurs when the class is too packed with information and there is not enough time to finish everything that was planned – making students feel like they need more attention. Teachers need to ensure that they properly split up their lessons into a workflow, which will result in students understanding each lesson better by splitting it into smaller parts. Teachers also need to make sure that they don’t overlap too much information from other lessons which could result in students not understanding everything that is being taught.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why students call out in the classroom. This can be a major problem for teachers as some students might feel compelled to call out when they become bored or overwhelmed with emotions. Teachers need to make sure that they teach in a way that is engaging and lays out their lessons properly. If students cannot understand what is being taught, they might feel the need to ask someone – disrupting other students from learning effectively.

How Do Teachers Handle Students Who Habitually Calls Out in class?

It is something every teacher experiences, both new and experienced. Students who call out in class can be distracting to other students and the teacher’s focus. For this reason, teachers need to address students who habitually call out in class so they can pay attention to what is being taught instead of dividing their attention among multiple things. What do teachers do to manage and handle students who always call out in the classroom? Well, they follow five guidelines below:

1) Talk to the student privately

When a student habitually calls out in class, teachers may hesitate to address the issue because they fear that the child will become angry and withdraw. However, simply approaching a child does not guarantee that he or she will react with anger. In fact, when you approach a child in private about an issue such as this, the child is more likely to be receptive to what you have to say.

2) Remind the student of classroom rules

When approaching a student with an issue such as this, it can be helpful to let him or her know ahead of time that there will be consequences if he or she continues doing what they are doing. The student may not be aware that what they are doing is disruptive. If you do not let them know beforehand, then their behavior will likely continue because there were no consequences for it in the past.

3) Apply consequences consistently

After you have approached the child about his or her behavior publicly and privately, it’s time to begin working to correct it. If the student continues to call out in class, you should apply consequences every time it happens.

4) Give positive reinforcement for good behavior

If the student begins to show interest and an ability to remain focused on his or her own work, give them positive encouragement. This will help reinforce good behavior so that they will continue doing well in the future.

5) Be patient

One of the most challenging parts of dealing with classroom disruptions is that they are hard to control. It can be easy to become frustrated when a student keeps calling out in class, but it’s important to keep calm when discipline problems arise because you will not want the poor behavior to escalate.

By following the above steps, teachers can address a student’s bad habit of calling out in class without scaring him or her into withdrawing. With time and consistency, you will be able to break this behavior to ensure that your students complete their work quietly and efficiently.

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