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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Quiet Signal: An Intentional Teaching Practice Designed to Gain Student Attention and Reduce Off-Task Student Behavior

In this portion of the blog we will share a array of instructional practices that are designed to foster student attention and reduce off-task behavior. Many of these interventions were identified by *Sapier & Gower in 1997. The first one we will discuss is the use of the ‘Quiet Signal’.

What is the Quiet Signal?

A quiet signal is a visual and/or auditory prompt that a teacher uses to terminate student discussion. A quiet signal can be a timer, a set of hand claps, a short tune, counting down from five to zero, or any visual and/or auditory prompt that ends peer conversation. Many veteran teachers simply raise their hand as a quiet signal. Accordingly, a teacher might explain: “When I raise my hand it means four things:

(1) Complete your sentence, and then stop talking. (2) Raise your hand. (3) Remind your neighbor to honor the quiet signal, and (4) Face the teacher.” The graphic organizer displayed at the top of this post can serve as a poster in the classroom.

*Saphier, J., & Gower, R. (1997). The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills. Acton, MA: Research for Better Teaching, Inc.

On the next post we will discuss the startle method to promote student attention and reduce off-task behavior.

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