This student is too loud. This student is too quiet. This student is…

I have a few students who chatter excessively and need advice on methods that have worked to quiet the disruption. I also need to involve students who are reluctant to participate in a group setting.
—H., Arizona

I like a chatty, active classroom— provided the students are on task. I would give students opportunities to chat and work in groups but kept them focused on thought-provoking topics or problems. Organize the groups yourself to minimize off-topic socializing. Limit discussions to keep them moving forward and have follow-up or extension activities for those who finish quickly. Requiring groups to present overviews of their discussions can be a good way to wrangle the talkers and channel their discussion to the work.

When you don’t want students chatting, have assigned seats and be sure to separate friends who chat too much.

My advice for handling shy students changes with different types of group work.
Labs: Create roles that each member has to assume for hands on or lab activities. Here is a link to a resource in the Learning Center describing the responsibilities I assigned for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects:

Discussions/Workgroups: I believe shy students sometimes need more time to gather their thoughts and are less likely to join ongoing conversations. “Think-Pair-Share” approaches build in time for individual reflection and ensure that everyone in a group has a turn.

Employ some self-assessments or group assessments as part of the process. You are welcome to use these from my resource collection in The Learning Center:
Group Evaluation:

Hope this helps!

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