Do we want quiet students?

How do we want our students to act in our classroom? At our school? This came to my attention the other day as one of our administrators asked students at an assembly how they think they should act in the classroom. It came up because a lot of teachers were gone on that day, and she was wondering how students could help out. I think the question was:

How can you make it easier for teachers today?

The students came up with what we might expect are typical answers:

  • We should be quiet when the teacher is talking
  • We should listen
  • We should do our work quietly
  • We should do what teachers tell us to do.

I was listening to their responses and thinking…actually what I want as a teacher from my students is for them to say:

  • We should be engaged when we’re learning
  • We should participate actively
  • We should show compassion for everyone and their ideas
  • We should think of different ways to try things
  • We should persevere
  • We should be excited about learning
  • We should encourage others to have a similar enthusiasm for learning
  • We should be vocal and loud in our opinions when needed and gentle when caring for others
  • We shouldn’t think of learning as work
  • We should always question why we are doing something and what is the point

I haven’t asked my students specifically in my classroom, and they weren’t participating in the all-school assembly.  I will though.

Shouldn’t we ask ourselves how we want our students to act. Then, shouldn’t we do everything we can so that students understand that perspective and can discuss that with everyone.

Having students answer in the way they did shows me that we aren’t operating as a inquiring, student-centered school or we’re not making it obvious enough.



One thought on “Do we want quiet students?

  1. I was in an EC 5/6 class where the teacher was asking her mostly 5 year olds what their job was in the classroom. The first answer? “To sit quietly and wait for the teacher to tell us what to do.” Maybe in an emergency situation yes, but this was bog standard everyday school. How do they learn this so quickly? Or more importantly, why is this the message they are getting so loudly? I love your suggestions.

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