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There is something eerie about a silent classroom.

When I first started teaching, a silent classroom was like a pearl – rarely found and highly coveted.  I thought that if I had this pearl I would be a good teacher.  I thought that if all of my students were quiet, learning MUST be happening.  I thought wrong.

Over time a subtle unease crept in.  Were my students actually learning or were they playing the game?  Were they engaged or simply afraid of being told to stop talking?  When are teenagers ever quiet?  When is passion and engagement ever quiet?  And gradually, my idea of the ideal classroom began changing.  My desire for silence was replaced with the hope that my students would talk excitedly about what they were learning.  A silent classroom now makes me a little nervous – what is going on?  Why is everyone quiet?  What am I (or they) missing?  Although there are certainly times when my classroom is so quiet a mummy would get nervous (and I know learning is happening) – it is no longer sought after.  What I thought was a pearl was only a clump of dirt.  I’ve washed my hands of it.

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