You see when a teacher talks a lot, and teachers usually love to talk, students turn into drones. We know all of the material already so we are so eager to tell the kids all about it. Some call it excitement over curriculum, I just call it teacher mouth. We talk to get them ready to them learn, we talk about the learning they are doing, and then we talk about what they have just learned. Have we ever thought that maybe us being quiet would let them learn better, more, faster?
So I decided that this year would be it. After reading brain research that shows that students pay proper attention to the same amounts of minutes as their age; oh yes, I have 9 minutes of attention time, I knew I had to stop talking. Immediately, me ego tried to stop me; how will they ever learn anything if I don’t tell them all about it? Well, that has been the great part. Students seem to be actually learning more this way. They are talking to their classmates about concepts, they are figuring things out on their own and most importantly; they are eager to get to work and learn something.
As the proud parent that lets go of the bicycle so junior can peddle on their own, I am learning to let go of my own ego. We are so highly educated that we think the only way the students learn best is if we teach them. Wrong, the best way for student to learn is to explore, and fail, and then explore some more.
So while my classroom may be a little more noisy, ok, a lot more noisy, this year, and lessons may be taking a bit longer because the students have to discover the answer rather than me pointing it out to them, there is also more excitement, more come on and do it and more get-to-it-ness then there has ever been before. So even though I catch myself sometimes talking too long, I am also getting better at letting go. After all, I know this stuff already which is why I am the teacher, now let them have their turn in the spotlight.