Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Perfect Classroom

Did you see those students? How focused and engaged they were? Did you see that quiet classroom, that looks to be the perfect classroom. My insides cringe. Quiet = learning, since when?

I used to be a believer in quiet. After all, if the students were not quiet how could they listen to all of my wisdom? After all, I was the one with the degree, the answers, the path, the years, and mostly the responsibility for any and all learning. I was a trained professional and they were just students, empty vessels ready to be filled.

And then I thought about all that energy put into saying "shhh...." into asking for silence, not to speak with partners, face me, me, me, me. But it wasn't about me and it never should have been. It is about the students and them finding their voice, the knowledge, the confidence to believe in themselves and their brains.

So my perfect classroom now: a little messy, (after all learning is kind if messy), student-owned, pods, choices and that wonderful noise of learning. There are still guidelines, we are not crazy, but there is life, excitement and joy. So if you walk by my room and think we are a little bit loud, hey, that just shows there is learning going on.

5 comments:

Doceo said...

I like a little of both--the noise and the quiet--in my classroom, but only if both are purposeful. As an introvert, I find it hard to think sometimes in loud and noisy spaces and an island of quiet can help me reorient. That's probably true of at least a few students in my classes, too.

As long as the noise and the quiet are purposeful (and not unmanaged chaos or the result of fanatical control), they balance the classroom atmosphere.

Rflynn said...

It takes a lot more confidence as a teacher to allow chaos instead of order.

Miss Melody said...

I, too, enjoy both the silence and the chaos. I prefer the guided fun and chaos of the classroom because I rather have my students engaged than falling asleep or having that distant look of confusion. Great post.

Mrs Ripp aka 4thGrdTeach said...

I agree that a room does not have to be noisy at all times for learning to happen but rather that it must not be quiet at all times for learning to happen. Too often as teachers we believe that no noise or quiet means better focused students, when quite the opposite is true. I am a freak myself when it comes to outside noise when I write and do best in absolute stillness so I try to respect that with students as well. They know they are welcome to go to the library to write or out into the hallway. I think it is simply another step in creating the student centered classroom rather than the teacher-focused one. Thank you for reading and commenting!

Cheryl Lynn said...

I love this post. I wish I could put it on my classroom blog for parents :) Many of them struggle with this. I really like what Rflynn said - it does take more confidence as a teacher to allow the noise, the discovery and interactions rather than having a quiet, quiet room where students are fed answers, lectured at, and receive quietly and passively. Great post!

 

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