How to Tame the Blurter
I’ve never had a school year in which I didn’t have a blurter. Blurters usually never enhance the lesson, and typically, if left unchecked, they distract other students from learning. There are different types of blurters.
The excitable blurter is my favorite of all. This is the kid that is genuinely excited about what you are saying and just can’t keep it contained. He is usually the one that, when he isn’t blurting, is sitting on the edge of his seat, waving his hand frantically for you to call on him.
The know-it-all blurter can ruin the chance for other students to even think about the question you just asked. Other students seem to resent this blurter because this student likes to show a bit of dominance when she answers the questions. Even though you may feel the same way, don’t show it. We not only have to manage these blurters, but watch that other students don’t bully them.
The attention-seeking blurter is obviously motivated by attention, but the root behind it can be difficult to find. Sometimes these students have difficult home lives, or they have limited social skills.
The worst kind of blurter (at least in my opinion) is the dominating blurter. All blurters can dominate your class if you let them, but this type of blurter is motivated by controlling your class. This student is more rare than the others, and this type of blurter is usually a discipline issue. If you can get this student on your side at the beginning of the year, then you will have an easier time.
So, how do we tame the blurter?
Address the blurter quickly and move on with what you were saying. Do not ignore it. They will not stop unless you address them. You can say something like this, “Thank you, Andie, for your comment, but you need to remember our protocol for speaking. Please do not interrupt me. We can discuss this later.” If it happens again you can stop and say, “Andie, I’ve already addressed this. See me after class.”
One mistake that new teachers (including me) make is stopping to have a conversation with the blurter while the rest of the class is waiting for you to continue what you were saying. Do not allow students to draw you into conversations during the time in which you were addressing the entire class.
With all this being said, if you ever have a student that looks a bit green, don't make him wait for you to call on him! ha! (Made that mistake before...)
Susan Dewees, Ed.D. is an administrator at a large middle school. She also served as a Turnaround Team Coordinator for a public school district in Louisiana. She has 20 years of experience in public school education, and special education is one of her specialties.
Erin Stokes, Ed.D. is a Title I Instructional Coordinator for a public school district in Louisiana. She has over 10 years of experience as a teacher and instructional coach. She is also an adjuct professor at Louisiana College. She loves students, teachers, and most of all--learning.
Becky Pippen, Ed.D. is currently serving as principal of a large middle school in Louisiana. She has over 20 years experience in educational leadership. She is passionate about improving the teacher workforce so that all students have the quality of instruction they deserve.