May 13, 2013
Comments Off on Resisting the hustle and bustle for silence

Resisting the hustle and bustle for silence

They hated it when I first introduced it. They tweeted, “This is killing me.” They even begged me after class to never do it again.

Eight weeks later, I suggest it, they do it. They like it.

I call it No-Talk Thursday.

Sure, there are still the skeptics and the resistant, but as a whole the class fades to silence much quicker now than it did then. It is a stretch of time where they are allowed/encouraged to disconnect and instead plug into themselves.

This isn’t to say they never do it on their own time, but when the world is buzzing around you too many of them choose to buzz along.

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In about fifty days, I’ll be leaving K/W and flying to B.C. to begin my 42 day Bike Across Canada. Forty-two days of solitude, pedals and scenery. As I’ve explained to my classes what I’m doing, many of them ask, aren’t you going to get lonely? Aren’t you going to get bored all by yourself?

The truth is I don’t know. I don’t think so, but I’ve never gone this long on my own. I’ve never allowed myself this long to be contemplative.

I’ve never been silent for so long.

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As we shift gears and move into our “No-Talk Thursday”, I often think “Is seventy-five minutes a week near enough?” Should we be practicing quiet contemplation more in schools? Is school too loud?

As we shift our classroom pedagogy towards a more online presence, a more “connected” existence, do we also allow the natural hustle and bustle of technology into our classrooms and in essence, into the learning procedure?

We know that learning happens when a student “thinks about thinking” or a student “wrestles with the knowledge/concepts/ideas”, however, are we giving students space to do that critical contemplation, or meta-cognition?

Should we be taking more time to resist the hustle and bustle and add more silence?

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