to think that asking y5 to work in absolute silence is OTT

(49 Posts)
mixedpeel Thu 16-May-13 13:38:33

and counterproductive to a good working environment?

Son's teacher expects silence even in PE (eg playing benchball) and Art (yesterday in pairs making papier mache balloons.)

He is extremely strict, but some of the things my son comes out with make me think he's utterly squeezing out any sense of the joy of learning.

Their topic at the moment is Space, and on Tuesday they were due to discuss the International Space Station. I said "oh, perfect timing, I bet you'll have a brilliant chat about the space walk" (a couple of the crew did some running repairs outside the ISS at the weekend - son fascinated by Newsround reports, and watched a bit live on the internet. Er, no. They covered what it said on the worksheet. Some of the children brought up the space walk from the news, but were told there wasn't time to discuss that.

Am I naïve to think that by Y5 they should still be able to have a bit of a creative hum in the classroom during some of the activities, and also that a little bit of linking planned teaching to what's going on in the news can be invaluable in bringing topics to life?

Miggsie Thu 16-May-13 14:49:00

sorry about typos I meant to say I sympathise with your SON

flatpackhamster Thu 16-May-13 14:55:53

Good for the teacher. 'Creative hum' is chatter and is totally unnecessarily, particular for 9 and 10 year olds. LOL at the 'oh, how dreadful, time without the little darlings expressing themselves!'.

SantanaLopez Thu 16-May-13 15:07:51

I'm on the fence. The PE thing is bizarre, but I don't see a problem with 10 year olds being expected to work on certain things in silence.

mixedpeel Thu 16-May-13 15:17:26

Santana, there is no fence if that's your reason for sitting on it. I don't disagree with working in silence as a concept. My problem is demanding total silence at all times, which the teacher himself has told me is his policy.

mathanxiety Thu 16-May-13 15:19:48

'Too simplistic and smacks of an inability to control discipline in general to me, thus going for the over the top approach.'

I agree with Mumsy's suspicion.

The DCs' primary school uses the boy/girl approach to keeping some sort of order in the classroom and while lining up. I don't like it, as the approach is clearly designed to make the girls into the classroom and line police. There are philosophical/feminist implications to that imo. I think there are studies that show that girls do better in maths in particular when allowed to work together in well-managed collaborative groups, while boys tend to do fine working on their own. An approach that places boys basically in their comfort zone while the girls facilitate an atmosphere that enables the boys to work well on their own may ignore the needs of the girls to a large extent..

However, their primary also favoured the creative hum and this was managed very well. I myself went to primary and secondary schools where the rule was total silence except in Art, Home Ec and PE. Suited me fine and but I think the creative hum would have developed some useful people skills, which are just as valuable in the long run. A teacher needs to be able to manage it for it to work, and I suspect, along with Mumsy, that this teacher isn't up to that.

Wishihadabs Thu 16-May-13 15:23:23

My Ds is year 4 , but taught with year 5's really can't concentrate with ambient noise. He prefers to do his homework in silence. A creative hum has no place in a maths lesson or writing task IMO. Silence for art and PE seems a bit OTT. I think we used to have the radio on for art.

soapboxqueen Thu 16-May-13 15:34:28

As a teacher I would be horrified to find children working in silence. There are some occasions when it is necessary but they are few and far between. Children learn best when they can discuss solutions etc In longer writing I encourage them to read their work to a partner so that they can hear their errors and discusses improvements to the plot. In reading I need the rest of the class to be quiet otherwise I can't hear the children reading but otherwise it is testing only.

DorisIsWaiting Thu 16-May-13 15:54:27

Is this all the time or just this week as the Yr 6 are working on their sats?

mixedpeel Thu 16-May-13 15:58:21

All the time, since teacher's arrival in January.

Soapbox, I wish you were my son's teacher!

But thanks to everyone for their perspectives.

kim147 Thu 16-May-13 16:07:23

I don't think art / DT should be in silence - I work as a primary teacher and do believe there should be a creative hum. I don't really mind in art what they talk about as long as they are working. Sometimes it's interesting to listen in to their chats.

The problem is when the hum gets too loud - and of course, what is fine for you may be too loud for a head who comes in.

So it's a balance.

Same for PE - children get excited in active games but the gym can be near other classes or the offices. And in gymnastics, the teacher needs to be heard.

30 children can get very noisy. I insist on silence in silent reading (I use the word silent a lot in that) so I can hear a group. In other subjects, I usually expect some talk but work related.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 16-May-13 16:09:31

God, I wish more teachers insisted on absolute silence every now and again.

SprinkleLiberally Thu 16-May-13 16:20:30

As a secondary school teacher, I wish more primary schools would encourage silent working for more of the time, although not all. Most of the pupils act as if they'll expire at once if they can't talk. I'd be amazed at silence in PE, but sometimes it is necessary.

KitchenandJumble Thu 16-May-13 16:31:07

YANBU. Silence during PE and art? Madness. I also think that children can achieve much more through collaborative learning and discussion than silently completing a worksheet. I teach adults (university students), and I am often stunned by the passivity that they display. Many of them seem to expect education to be a matter of passively absorbing information, rather than actively, creatively, analytically engaging with a subject.

There is a time for quiet in the classroom, certainly. But all the time? That smacks of a lack of imagination on the part of the teacher, as well as some insecurity in terms of his own ability to manage the class.

A friend's children attend a school that requires absolute silence while eating lunch. That sort of control just makes me shiver.

valiumredhead Thu 16-May-13 16:32:29

Yr 5 is middle school here and working in silence is the norm unless you are doing a team project at ds's school.

Many years ago I worked in a primary school where the reception kids did PE/gym in silence, it was amazing and it meant that the teacher could give out instructions and the kids were concentrating on what they were doing. It worked really well.

I think there is room for both. ds2 is y6 and they quite often work in silence, but at other times they have discussions as a whole class, and other times they are split into smaller groups to work on group projects which requires discussion and delegation, and sometimes even arguing about the best way to do something!

these are all skills that everyone needs in order to thrive as an adult.

there should be discussion, and if the teacher is good and the subject gets railroaded, then he should have the skills and knowledge to bring the discussion back on track.

will your son have the same teacher again next year. if not I wouldn't take any action, but if he is then I suggest you have a chat with the teacher and ask him about his teaching methods?

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 16:40:06

Kind of makes a mockery of the claim, then, about all that socialization they get in school, if they are doing all activities in silence, and in kitchen's example, eating lunch in silence. Mine are always complaining that they only get about 10 minutes after queuing for lunch, then perhaps 30 min run around either break, 40 minutes a day is easily replaceable by an after-school activity like art club! Perhaps those home-edders are on to something.

valiumredhead Thu 16-May-13 16:47:31

Not really, socialising goes on all the time and by 10/11 they need to buckle down and get work done, and tbh at that age they are as easily distracted as reception aged kids ime hmm grin

WilsonFrickett Thu 16-May-13 17:29:33

In Scotland, the Curicuulum measures listening and talking, in fact they're considered as important as writing and reading. Lots of paired work and talking work and team problems to solve. Silence in a classroom (all the time!) is weird.

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 17:37:09

Complete silence in every lesson, including joint art projects, does not sound like a great opportunity for socialization to me. I'm not saying there's none, I'm saying that it appears that in some schools there is a very modest amount easily replicable by social activities afterschool/clubs.

Surely it's not an all or nothing situation? I would worry if my child was in a class like this, and probably go in to see the teacher to see if they were exaggerating just a wee bit

Mumsyblouse Thu 16-May-13 17:40:34

And- I am staggered at how inarticulate some 18+ students are who have been to very expensive private schools where I imagined they would be getting lots of opportunities for debate/structured discussion. Lots of mumbling, lots of complete inability to hone in on the key points of a topic, lots of statements asked as questions? (lol, ok, this rising inflection at the end of a statement is the fashion but it's not a good strategy when explaining something as it makes you sound unsure of what you just said).

SantanaLopez Thu 16-May-13 17:54:28

The Curriculum for Excellence is a pile of shite though.

I think they need a balance, doesn't sound like this teacher is providing it.

balia Thu 16-May-13 18:00:57

The teacher told you they have to work in total silence at all times? How do they let him know if they are stuck, or need the toilet, or have lost their pen, or have finished?

BackforGood Thu 16-May-13 18:05:17

Of Course YANBU - am amazed at the first few responses. shock
Totally agree with what MumsyBlousy said in her first post - silent working is excellent for some areas of learning, and clearly ridiculous for something such as making something together / playing team sports, and like you say, not allowing interesting input on what could me a really motivating topic.

OwlinaTree Thu 16-May-13 20:29:29

You need a bit of all of it really.

Sometimes silence, but not all the time.

Children are all different, but the best learners are able to adapt their learning to suit different situations. You won't get better at that if it's always the same situation - silent individual work.

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