• Posted 11/01/2018 11:34pm

Silence isn't empty, it's full of answers

An article on silence from Lifehack reminded me of my experiences as a child being grabbed by the relentless South Island, West Coast surf, tossed back and forth, pushed under water and tumbled about like a plucked leaf.  It was almost like the sea had hands forcing me to a place I wasn't sure I wanted to go, pushing me under, pulling me up and then tossing me onto the sand only to be dragged back again to be swallowed up by a new set of waves.  The roar of the waves reminded me of its power.  Of course, I could scramble back out onto dry sand but I kept going back for more.  

Teaching can be like that, we just get swept up by the demands of teaching and keep coming back for more. The roar of the classroom becomes a background noise as we go about supporting our students.  We rarely find silence, invisible pockets of air we desperately need to breathe.

The article about silence got my attention.  In this article, scientists discovered that by exposing mice to two hours of silence a day their brain developed band new cells in the hippocampus, where memory, emotion, and learning happens!  This is where silence becomes a powerful part of our student's learning experience.  Research has shown that in silence we are able to connect our internal existence to our external reality which, of course, enhances our learning and understanding.  True learning is not a linear experience but an organic experience where you engage your whole body, it isn't always about 'doing' but also about 'being'.

The following paragraph comes from http:..www.liehack.org/377243.science-says-much-more-important-our-brains-than-thought
"The brain is actively internalising and evaluating information during silence.  When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things.  During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.  The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way".

"All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.", Herman Melville.

Silence is more powerful than we realise and maybe finding more of it in our daily school life could result in richer experiences and deeper learning.  I'm not suggesting that we include two hours of silence in our school (as attractive as this may seem to some of us). but, I am suggesting that we SLOW DOWN OUR CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS!

YouPlanIt Classroom (YPI) allows us to do this seamlessly because we no longer prescribe the curriculum for our students but we attach ourselves to the seed thoughts of a child and use the curriculum as a tool to express what naturally occurs in the inner and outer world of our children.  This way, we fulfill the requirements of a curriculum with minimal effort. 

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Your comments are always welcome.  Link

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