Students talking in lectures

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Students talking in lectures can be distracting and off-putting for lecturers and other students. If students are talking in the lecture you could follow the lecture protocol if you have one.

Example Lecture protocol

In previous years problems were created during lectures as a result of a minority of students in the lecture theatre talking and generally behaving in an immature fashion. The problem was also raised a number of times by students at meetings of the Course Committee.

Accordingly, staff have agreed that the following protocol will be followed:

In the event of talking or other forms of disruptive behaviour, the lecturer will appeal for silence THREE times. If silence is not forthcoming then the lecture will be abandoned and it will be the responsibility of the students to acquire the relevant information by means of their own research.

If it is just a couple of students it can be quite effective to simply stop lecturing and look at them and usually when they realise that you are silent and looking at them they stop talking.

If there is a repeat, you could say that it is very distracting to try and lecture with people talking and that if they wish to talk please could they go and talk elsewhere e.g. canteen.

By breaking the lecture up and giving students an opportunity to talk briefly to each other about a specific topic or question, it can make the lecture more interesting and engage the audience. By doing this it is less likely that students will start talking at inappropriate times in the lecture.

For further ideas about different things to do in lectures, see Gibbs G, Habeshaw S et al (1995) ’53 Interesting things to do in your lectures

See also, Chapter 3 ‘Refreshing your lecturing’ in the ‘Lecturer’s Toolkit’ 2nd ed. Race P, (2001) Kogan Page

Also, some effective visual aids can help to keep the students attention and help to prevent them from talking.

It is important to address the issue of students talking in lectures. Other students find it very distracting too and become irritated if the lecturer fails to take action.

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