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  1. #1
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Rudeness in class

    I'm having a problem with students talking while I'm talking... little chitchatting pairs, usually.

    I have to raise my voice to be heard, often have to ask them to stop talking while I'm talking. Some evenings I go home with a sore throat that lasts for days, and I'm tired of having to repeat myself because people weren't listening the first time I talked.

    I haven't really paid attention to WHO is causing the problem, but I suspect if I do I'll find it's the same one or two people all the time.

    I suppose I have to start paying attention to who is talking and call them out by name. If it does turn out to be the same person/people all the time.. then what? Give a warning privately? Tease them 'jokingly' during class until they get the hint? Tell them they can't be in the advanced levels if they're not taking the dance instruction seriously? It IS supposed to be fun for them, but it's not fair to the students who want to be TAUGHT during their classtime.

    sigh These are adults. I really shouldn't have to deal with this.


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer eshe's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I regulate chat/water/anything else times.

    "ok, you've got 30 seconds to have a drink or have a chat."

    If I hear chatting I just smile and say "Sorry did you have a question?"


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I suppose I have to start paying attention to who is talking and call them out by name. If it does turn out to be the same person/people all the time.. then what? Give a warning privately? Tease them 'jokingly' during class until they get the hint? Tell them they can't be in the advanced levels if they're not taking the dance instruction seriously?
    I would probably stop teaching, look at the culprits, and say in a pleasantly courteous tone of voice, "If there's something you need to talk about, could you please step out in the hall to discuss it?" And then I'd stop and wait for them to either go out in the hall or quiet down and pay attention.

    The problem with a private warning is that it doesn't make them stop RIGHT NOW when the classmates wish they would. By the time you talk to them privately, they may have forgotten they were even doing it. And, by the time your next class comes along, they might forget about the private conversation. You wouldn't correct a child 30 minutes after he did the offending behavior, you'd do it as soon as the misbehavior occurred, right? The same principle applies to adults.

    The problem with teasing and joking is that you WANT them to take your request seriously. You shouldn't joke about something that you want acted upon. Say what you mean, and say it plainly, unambiguously. As the teacher, you are the authority figure in that classroom. You don't have to be harsh, and you don't have to use a scolding tone of voice, but you do need to manage the classroom.

    I don't think I'd tell them they can't be in the advanced level if they don't take class seriously, at least, not at first. That sounds too much like a threat. Now, if I'd asked them to stop 2-3 times every class for 3-4 weeks in a row, I might escalate to a threat. But not at first.


  4. #4
    Advanced BHUZzer jewelbellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    A fast and furious shimmy drill usually shuts people up! But seriously, I feel your pain, and I too hate having to deal with chatterboxes. I want to be a fun teacher, but I actually hate chatter! It feels disrespectful.

    Stopping, turning off the music and waiting is probably a good option. Maybe say something like "I'm sorry, I can't make myself heard over the chatter and I know it means many of the other students can't hear me." But I'm a wuss, and find such a direct approach really hard.

    One less obvious approach that I've used is to put music on and get everyone to do a certain move while I go around correcting students individually. It gives an opportunity to waltz over to the offending students and have a private word with them - calling them out, but in an unembarrassing way.

    I had a pair of girls that chattered through warm ups every night and it drove me nuts, because I use that time to center myself and focus. I finally had a word with them after class and explained that, while I was really glad they had fun, the constant chatter was making teaching difficult because of xyz, and that I was concerned some of the other students didn't like the disruption. It seemed to work. They were just being excitable and hadn't really thought about the impact of their behaviour.


  5. #5
    Advanced BHUZzer jewelbellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Oh, what about stopping the music and saying something like "OK, for the next 20 minutes I want you to all stop chatting and listen carefully to what I say. I'm going to teach you some complicated technique/choreography and you need to really listen to get it."


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I had that problem with a college class where 9 workmates came together and they'd start chatting. I stopped the class and said "You really do have to listen to my instructions as you might hurt yourselves or others if you are not paying attention"
    Simple ....misbehaving adults , misbehaving schoolkids ..no real difference and you have a duty to those who are listening.


  7. #7
    Established BHUZzer MariaAya's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I punish them
    Steping on one foot, looking at the corner and shimmying !
    I tell you, have 3 students that became shimmy pro's !
    Use joke-tone and something fun but with a threat, this is what I do also.
    Kind of like: the next one that will speak in the class will count the stairs with saidi jumbs (after I have kicked them out)
    They usual stop (for awhile) but... we are greeks, we have a different level of speaking/chating/being lol
    xoxoxo


  8. #8
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    My first question is, "Have these students always behaved like this?" I've had classes where chatting during class was the norm. The teacher would begin an exercise and start expounding on something else while we danced. Everybody would be quiet when it was time to do something else so she could explain it, and then they'd resume the secondary conversations after the dancing started back up again. If a student is coming to your class after a situation like this, they might genuinely think it was okay to talk during the lessons because that was what was previously modeled. If the students were quiet before and have recently started chatting under you, this may indicated something else--possibly that they are not being challenged enough, or that they are dissatisfied with something you are doing and are passive-aggressively trying to undermine your authority. Is the time frame for the behavior consistent with the change to your new level system?

    Here are two other possible strategies to pursue, in addition to the ones already mentioned:

    Blame Patrisha (not really). This thread http://www.bhuz.com/forum/belly-danc...p-manners.html is an excellent excuse to discuss classroom conduct with your students, and to announce a new policy of practicing good etiquette.

    It doesn't stop the talking, but it will be easier on your voice if you invest in a wireless microphone/PA system if you don't have one already.


  9. #9
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I was always useless at this because I am a big wuss - and it's hard when you have a discretionary student base - but something that can work is eyeballing the stronger dancer of the culprits and saying "X, can I get you to come forward and stand here so that New Student can watch what you're doing during this section?"

    The old "do I have to separate you two?" thing can work quite well, too.

    Anything that draws their attention and requires them to concentrate is good. Like "X, I'd like you to try layering a shimmy on that now." In general I found chatters tend to be relatively able dancers who are slacking off.

    My worst issues regarding class control come with kids/teens because the things they do are so amusing. It's hard to be stern with someone else's kid when they said something clever.


  10. #10
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I haven't always had this problem, and I think the time frame might be consistent with some new students being promoted to this level. Either one of the newer students is a chatterbox with poor classroom manners who's setting off the rest OR there may just be too many students in this class for the type of work we try to do there (which requires more focused attention than the lower levels).

    Stopping and waiting until they're quiet and then telling them I need their attention is what I've been doing, and it works for the moment (although I've gotten a couple of looks that I didn't like, mostly from the newer gals). But the fact that I'm having to do this almost every week now is making me think some other action is necessary.

    I'm going to pay closer attention to see if it's the same person/people all the time. I'm so focused on what I'm presenting that I'm not always aware of the classroom dynamics...

    My studio seems really small for a wireless mike, but I may have to consider it if I can't get this under control.


  11. #11
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Lauren, have you tried just rotating the lines? If the class is bigger, that will get everyone in front of you at least once, so they're forced to concentrate more.

    Moving bodies around is a good way to break up groups temporarily as well, though they're usually in the same line. But for instance if you do a pair exercise, you can make people go with someone who isn't their pal.


  12. #12
    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    My studio seems really small for a wireless mike, but I may have to consider it if I can't get this under control.
    A wireless mike will cover the volume but you will probably have to deal with repeating everything since they will have missed vital instruction. Not fair to you or the other students. Discipline seems to be the only fair option.


  13. #13
    I could get used to this! NativeDancer's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    You know, (and this applies to workshops too I would think), you might want to point out that wasting time with chatter is wasting money paid for learning. Students pay for class time, and I know in my classes, that when time is up, it's up. We can't stay over the allotted time, so if we spend that time goofing off and running our mouths, we are loosing valuable time that we paid for to learn. Just a students point of view.


  14. #14
    I could get used to this! Demelza's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I've had this problem too - I do not like it. Usually when I am starting a new teaching bit in my lesson and certain peeps jabber away. Usually a really loud surprising Yip! works here ;D


  15. #15
    Official BHUZzer SpicyThai's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by Demelza View Post
    I've had this problem too - I do not like it. Usually when I am starting a new teaching bit in my lesson and certain peeps jabber away. Usually a really loud surprising Yip! works here ;D
    I like this, combined with the shimmy drill MariaAya suggested. I think if you do this each time there's a chatter session, they will quickly get the message.


  16. #16
    Mega BHUZzer Nadirah Dance's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    just tell them before class starts there is no talking. and questions can be directed to you. and be stren about it.


  17. #17
    Mega BHUZzer eshtabellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I usually say something really silly like time to express ourselves with our bodies not our mouths. They just laugh and then shut up.


  18. #18
    Mega BHUZzer Lara L's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by Shira View Post
    I would probably stop teaching, look at the culprits, and say in a pleasantly courteous tone of voice, "If there's something you need to talk about, could you please step out in the hall to discuss it?" And then I'd stop and wait for them to either go out in the hall or quiet down and pay attention.
    This is what I do- I also have a clause in my class policy form that everyone gets about respecting self & others- we touch on it briefly during the first few minutes of a new semester.

    I also make sure they know there is time/space before & after class for the chatters to do their thing.


  19. #19
    Official BHUZzer Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    As a student if I had to do, or wait for a chatterer to do, any sort of punishment drill I would be even more annoyed. To me that's making a little disruption to the class into a bigger one. It might be OK in a long class especially if it had the desired effect quickly, but ours are too short.

    I'm going to pay closer attention to see if it's the same person/people all the time. I'm so focused on what I'm presenting that I'm not always aware of the classroom dynamics...
    I think this is the key to managing it successfully and getting the message across; get an idea of who is doing it and why.


  20. #20
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by zumarrad View Post
    .

    My worst issues regarding class control come with kids/teens because the things they do are so amusing. It's hard to be stern with someone else's kid when they said something clever.
    Oh no it's not..it becomes very easy after 20 years..g.: After 25 it's like second nature. The problem with teaching adults is you have to remember they are adults ( and paying ones at that) even when they behave like naughty kids.
    This is the problem with teaching a class where people want to come for fun..or rather with the emphasis on fun and thy are not the sad obsessed like our good selves who want to know what was special about Soheir Zaki etc etc..
    This is why should my beginners class at college not happen due to the credit crunch, I'll not be broken-hearted and I will carry on dancing with a handful of girls who really really want to do it.


  21. #21
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren_ View Post
    I haven't always had this problem, and I think the time frame might be consistent with some new students being promoted to this level. Either one of the newer students is a chatterbox with poor classroom manners who's setting off the rest OR there may just be too many students in this class for the type of work we try to do there (which requires more focused attention than the lower levels).
    Since this seems to be connected to the recent changes, maybe you could address the class at the beginning. Some thing like, "Since there's been some moving around with all the different levels, it's probably a good time to go over the ground rules once again. Turn off your cell phones before class begins, no chewing gum, and when I'm talking, there shouldn't be anyone else doing the same. I want this class to be fun for everyone, but the higher up you move in levels, the more serious and committed I expect you to be during class."


  22. #22
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by Aniseteph View Post
    As a student if I had to do, or wait for a chatterer to do, any sort of punishment drill I would be even more annoyed. To me that's making a little disruption to the class into a bigger one.
    I have to admit I don't love the idea of shimmy punishment drills on principle. I am well aware that extended shimmy practice can be physically uncomfortable and lots of people dread it, but we do them because they build technique, not because we've been bad and need to punish ourselves. Shimmy drills are supposed to be something dancers understand the importance of and willingly undertake, like taking icky-tasting medicine or going to the dentist--short-term misery for long-term health. Shimmies as punitive vengeance for misbehaving just sends the wrong message, IMHO.


  23. #23
    Official BHUZzer SpicyThai's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I don't think the shimmy drill was suggested as a punishment, but as an intense activity that requires concentration and therefore precludes conversation.

    --Of course, I could always be wrong! :)
    Last edited by SpicyThai; 08-31-2010 at 12:40 PM.


  24. #24
    Mega BHUZzer david's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I have tried various methods of accommodating a good work environment. My best suggestion is that you let every new/moving up student know what the parameters for how you structure your classes are either through conversation or through a handout. That avoids "suddenly suprised by class structure requirements" problems.

    Next I inform my classes that I will remain quiet if the class is disrupted by conversations among the dancers (a trick handed down to me by Judeen by way of Patrisha and Maestro Reda used it this weekend as well). I still get paid and if they would like to use their class time to chat, that is up to them. Usually it takes 2 seconds from I go quiet until the room regains it's work atmosphere and an environment that allows for learning.

    If someone then still feels the urge to interupt you may ask them to continue their conversation outside the studio.

    I will also speak with individual dancers outside the studio after class and/or during their individual private lessons about their class discipline.

    This exact approach may not be recommendable if you have large numbers of recreational dancers in your classes as it may turn them off, but it does effectively provide a healthy learning environment...and I find that to be beneficial to the dancers and myself as the coach/teacher/instructor in the long run.

    I am sure you could modify and improvise and find a way that would be beneficial to you. What I do recommend in general is avoiding loud noises such as a zaghareet (I sometimes find myself doing this...guilty as charged here! It's just intrucive), shushing or use of a displeased voice. I am sure you can find an authorative way of conveying your message without that...

    :)


  25. #25
    Master BHUZzer shimarella's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    I sometimes have problems with this in my Zumba classes and I;m never sure what to do...stopping the class until they quiet down doesn't seem to work AND wastes everyone's time & the ladies are impervious to my talking over them or directing suggestions to the class in general like " you might want to hear this!" etc. Blergh.


  26. #26
    I could get used to this! wv_wahine's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Quote Originally Posted by NativeDancer View Post
    ...wasting time with chatter is wasting money paid for learning.
    THIS. As a student, I find it incredibly disrespectful--of both the instructor and the other students--when people disrupt a class, causing me to lose the time and money I've dedicated to learning. Waste your own time and money if you want, but stop wasting mine. Perhaps a mention that keeping one's mouth shut and ears open is the best way to get the most out of one's investment while allowing others to do the same would be worthwhile. /rant


  27. #27
    Established BHUZzer basil1's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Maybe you could turn the music down or off and say loudly "Is there a question" For sure that's the wus approach but might get the hint out there.


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Oh lordy.

    This can go beyond rudeness especially once people start performing.

    Then you get the Swan Syndrome, people pecking on the "outsiders," acting out if they feel threatened, trying to exclude people and even attacking the teacher.

    I wonder if taking some education courses might not be a good idea. I'm considering it.


  29. #29
    Advanced BHUZzer Elibelinde's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    PS lots of wise advice in this thread but as dance teachers, unless we're teaching a for-credit course in which attendance is mandatory, we're at the mercy of our students.

    If they don't have fun or for some other reason turn against us, we can be toast and/or various cliques can really sour the whole class/performance group.


  30. #30
    Advanced BHUZzer phillyraqs's Avatar
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    Re: Rudeness in class

    Ugh, I hate this. I teach at a few libraries as a fun "add-on" program - maybe I'm there once a month at most. The classes are very large, 25 - 50 people, but it is groups of friends and everyone is excited and chatty because they are not there to be serious, but as something fun or funny to do. So I anticipate them being chattier than say, a regular class.

    Once class starts, I give my spiel about belly dance and go over some ground rules including no chatting. I must give some powerful stink eye looks, because I stand there and don't say a word when people start to talk during a brief lull. It usually takes me doing this twice and then everyone gets quiet as soon as I cross my arms!


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