Saturday, April 20, 2024

Start school day with five minutes of quiet time


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Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “You owe me”. Look what happens to a love like that, it lights up the whole sky. – Hafiz, a Persian poet of the 1300s.

SOMETIME AGO in a comment on education, I suggested that each class/form in each school begin their day with five minutes of quiet.

I know that there will be a lot of students who will try to make a mockery of that time, but gradually even they will come to understand that in the silence, there is the opportunity to hear that still, small voice.

That voice may give them the tool to deal with their own situation. Equally it may give them the wisdom to create, suggest, research or get that “aha” moment.

For some, that five minutes may be the only quiet period during an entire day otherwise filled with the noise of doing what some call “living”. The day made up of peers yacking; cellphones clicking, singing, ringing, talking; teachers and students discussing, disagreeing, “detention-ing”; parents pleading, television blasting, siblings fighting, traffic – ah yes, traffic. You get the picture. It is not quiet in there, out there or anywhere there.

Ideally the quiet time might be followed by Tell Me In Two. During this segment five students, previously chosen, will be given exactly two minutes to speak on a topic of their choice using what may be called standard English. The purpose is not to be disrespectful or to diminish others but to be positive.

Over time students will come to understand that they can actually speak without lacing their comments, observations, opinions or just conversation with foul language. Yes, it will take time for that change to happen.

I believe that both teachers and students will, sooner rather than later, notice a difference in attitude to school, learning, and to each other. The energy and what people refer to as the ethos of every school shall change. Which school shall be the one that will dare to make a difference to our teaching/learning experience?

Michael Rudder


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