I cringe every time that I see small children sitting in their straight “school approved” rows sitting silently. When they speak, they are told “shhh” or some even get accustomed to placing their finger over their mouth which serves to remind them to remain silent. At the slightest of noise, the parent is informed…
“Your child is great but they are being far too social.”
Kids raise their hands for approval to ask questions. Sometimes, when the question isn’t warranted, they’re even reprimanded for asking. My favorite one…”When will we ever use this?” (Truthfully, they SHOULD ask this question)
Born to Comply
Sometimes I feel that “learning” is more about compliance than process.
“Sit in your seat in your row. Get out your black/blue pen and write on uniformed paper with wide lines. You may go to the restroom when I say that you can. You may not speak to your neighbor. You may not get up from your desk. You have two rights…to remain silent and do as I say.”
Are we teaching stalks of corn or children?
Dear Teachers AND Administrators, classroom management is not about having the most uniformed and silent class. It is about creating a structure in which learning is embraced, encouraged and empowered. It is about having processes in place that allow kids to be explorers and architects of their knowledge. Sometimes, that is chaotic but a great classroom manager understands how to “manage” this process…NOT control it like a prison guard. (End of PSA)
We have to encourage kids to speak more. Why can’t they ask questions? Why do they have to be completely silent? Why can’t they engage in more conversation…even if it goes off topic? This is called REAL LIFE. This is not something that you start at the middle to high school level. This needs to start as early as pre-k because by the time those kids get to the secondary part of their education, we (the highly informed progressive teachers) are spending a great deal of time trying to undo what has been programmed and get kids to think, speak and reflect. (We should anyway…)
If you teach HS math, you understand the above statement. I kid you not…kids literally WAIT on each step of the process and are highly upset when they see that you are not “THAT” teacher because somewhere their “programming” has convinced them that regurgitating steps is the ONLY way to “learn” math.
The reality is that kids are accustomed to what transpires and when we train them like robots, what else can they possibly be but more robots. It was absolutely refreshing to hear students speak up at SLA last week during Educon. At some point during the lives of these students, someone gave them permission to speak up and they do it oh so well.
If we want our students to be able to convey their ideas as well as emotions…we have GOT to empower them to think freely…to talk freely…to question freely.
Better yet…question EVERYTHING.
When they question…empower them to seek out answers and share…even publish.