wasting bandwidth since 1999

Who Says “Chaos” Is Bad?

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.

1 Comment

  1. Betty

    I was happy to move to a middle school with rooms with doors. It was tough to teach in an open setting where every noisy activity disturbed three other classes. Our district encouraged working in cooperative groups . . . quietly. How does one do this?

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