One of the joys of being a beginning teacher is that you get to do a lot of observations of other teachers doing their thing. While it is awesome seeing master teachers doing their thing, it can also leave you feeling a bit stink.
For most of last year I was convinced that a quiet classroom is the way to go.
And yes those classrooms with kids quietly hunched over their desks is oh so appealing as beginning classroom especially in contrast to your own class which is loud and active.
However are quiet classes really great places for learning? Why do assume that in order to be productive learners students must sit in silence. After all tests are taken in silence yet when you look around you’ll often find students unengaged and bored out of their brains. Does a noisy classroom indicate off task behaviour and a lack of learning?
Because we also know that learning is a social and active. Collaboration requires talking and might require you moving to collaborate with different people depending on your needs.
As with everything in education a bit of a balance.
Some kids thrive on active, noisy, social learning while others prefer quiet, individual forms of acquiring new knowledge. The classroom has to have room for both and every shade in between.
Moreover learning to change your behaviour depending on the situation is actually an important life skill. That there’s times when you can be loud and boisterous and others when you take your volume down a few notches. It’s those lessons within lessons that we often overlook in schools.
In my class the Daily 5 tends to be quiet while topic work tends to be louder group work. Last year the class watched the TED talk and it actually led to a really interesting discussion about how there are kids in the class who find social learning exhausting and do need periods of solitude in the day to renergize.
The extroverts in the class might not fully understand the needs of the introverts and vice versa yet.
But learning to bring out the best in others in a skill everyone, not just teachers, need.