Sunday, 22 January 2012

The power of just shutting up for a bit

One of the things I'm interested in at the moment is talking less. At school my TLC is currently investigating ways we can get the kids to take more responsibility for their learning and become less reliant on teachers for everything. Unfortunately, most teachers like the sound of their own voice a little too much (ever accused a kid of that?!) I know I am guilty of that crime as a frustrated actor.

This week I am going to time the kinds of talk in my lesson, then try to limit the amount I am contributing, after all they should be working harder than me!

I am very lucky to work with some exceptional colleagues. On Friday, I went to observe a Y11 Drama lesson which was truly inspiring. Nobody spoke for the entire time. Appropriately, it was on mime. The levels of engagement were astonishing and there was no doubt that it was a truly memorable experience for teachers and students alike.

Each student was presented with instructions not to talk on entry. Music was used cleverly to create a mood and control the energy. They were given character cards to mime and then collaborated in groups to create a silent comedy routine. Evaluation could take place via laptop if needed, but the students opted out of this. It culminated in a performance with a silent handclap and identification of particular skills on the whiteboard.

I guess there would be many who say, "Couldn't happen here!". True of my place too. The same member of staff also had an entirely silent day at school. This included break duty, Senior Staff callout and CPD in the afternoon! Some people swear they remember having a conversation with her, but she resolutely remained silent. It had a few interesting results. The truanting kids she was called out to round up followed her gestures and facial queues without trouble. It defused a potentially volatile situation. It is interesting to reflect how our mouths can cause trouble we don't intended! It also creates a calmness and reflection that can also be enormously helpful
. Finally, it created an opportunity for the more mischievous amongst us to take advantage of one of the noisiest members of staff being gagged for a day!

So, I'm going to try it too, but not in quite so drastic a form. I am going to limit my talk though. Maybe then I can stop being the most disruptive element in the classroom...

No comments:

Post a Comment