Clarence compares the “typical” quiet room in his middle school to his “crazy” classroom and wonders whether he should shut down all this “chaos”.
But once things get going, I sometimes find myself simply standing with my back to the counter, watching the action in the classroom. “Kid – watching” the Goodman’s call it. Before I react to any situation, or step in to put kids back to work, I stand and watch the action and more often then not, a conversation that has strayed off course very soon wanders back to the task at hand.
An article I once read in the Harvard Educational Review said that well over 60% of classroom conversations centre around assigned work. So if we shut that down, are we shutting down their own personal learning networks in the classroom?
There are quite a few teachers and administrators who incessantly worry about anything (ANYTHING!) going on in a classroom that is not completely and directly related to the instructional goal.
However, anyone who can get their students, especially middle school kids, to devote more than 60% of their time to “classroom conversations” should be considered a great teacher.
I’d love to see more classroom chaos of the type Clarence describes.