Monday, 31 January 2011

Why do you need to allow 'Talk' in your classroom?

The most powerful tool you can have is your voice. You put your ideas, your dreams, your imagination, your views and your character into your voice. You express your opinion and you find way towards perfection by sharing and listening to other opinions.
The language is the only different ability than other species that humankind possesses. We would like to be heard and valued since we were born. Why do babies cry when they are unhappy? Why do they gurgle and bubble when they are fine? They imitate the older children and parents. They want to be just like them and tell their emotions with words.
I know that silence was overrated in schools years ago. Teachers used to punish students who spoke during the lessons. I remember my teachers did not even talk to us apart from giving classroom instructions and explaining the topics. We had to be quiet and still. We could not even fidget! Honestly, there are times now that I think the old days were better:) However, I know for sure that they were not better! All of us were oppressed  with fear of corporal punishment and could not say what we really thought about the world...No, it was not better!
For example; when you meet with a friend for coffee, you would not sit there for an hour and wait for your friend to talk without disruption. After 15 minutes, you would start fidgeting, huffing and puffing! It's humans' natural reaction. So why do we expect that in classes? What makes teachers so special that they think everybody should listen to them for an hour without interrupting? Absolutely nothing!

Make sure that in your lessons you plan time to talk between pairs or groups. Let them share their opinion even if they are not agreeable. They will learn how to negotiate, how to apply new knowledge and how to internalize them. If you have English as an Additional Language students, they will benefit from other students' and teacher's modelling. They are like babies in their new language. They will listen to others and after awhile they will start to gurgle, bubble, cry and shout! You will see the miracle very soon...I promise....


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