|image from icanread|
This year there has been a lot of emphasis on voice level at my school. Chalk it up to our status as a PBIS school where it is all about the voice levels. And I agree, many times kids talking in the hallways can be a distraction to those teaching. Or kids shouting in the lunch room is not great behavior, but there seems to be an obsessions with quiet in our schools. As if quiet always means learning.
So I am here to disagree, to ponder our obsessions with quiet students. To me quiet can mean many things, and yes, one of them is studious behavior. But it can also mean a child that is lost in their work and doesn’t even know what to ask. It can mean a child has no one to speak to as they sit at lunch by themselves. It can mean that children are merely doing their job as learners and not fully invested in what they are doing. It is not that I am against the quiet, it has its place in school, but so does boisterous excitement, loud noises, and general conversation.
We often equate teacher weakness with loud classrooms, however, my classroom is loud and we get done what we need to get done and sometimes even more than what we are supposed to. We get excited, we get a little loud, and we know when to be quiet because it fits the purpose. Walk by on any given day and you may see us at all sorts of voice levels. Walk by on any given day and hopefully you will see kids engaged with the learning.
So let’s revisit the quiet. Let’s figure out when it is truly needed and when it should take center stage, but let us not continue to teach children that learning must be quiet, that learning should be in whisper voices only, unless you are speaking to the teacher. Much like we have blank classroom walls at the beginning fo the year so that students may take them over, let us also have quiet rooms waiting to be filled with noise by the students. They should have a voice, and nut just a voice level 1 kind of voice, but perhaps even a voice level 2 or 3 at times.