In my previous post I discussed the importance of the environment in creating a calm classroom. One feature of that environment that teachers often overlook, and in fact the most important feature of all, is themselves. Philosopher John Dewey said that the most important feature in any human being’s environment was other human beings. In the case of a classroom the teacher is – or should be – the most influential feature of that environment.
This is a huge responsibility and a huge privilege. Every look, every movement of the teacher, how they speak, how they dress, all communicate information and all affect the children or young people – or adult students – they are working with.
So, in terms of creating a calm classroom, the state of mind of the teacher and their ability to be quiet in themselves is crucial. A teacher who rushes around, who speaks loudly all the time, who does not know how to be still, will find it hard to communicate the skill of being quiet and still to their students.
If you suspect you are at the frenetic end of the human spectrum, what can you do to learn to be different if you want to? One practical thing you can do is to insert a pause before and after actions – just a tiny pause. This has the effect of creating a sense of stillness in you and in those around you.
- Pause before you move
- Pause before you speak
- Pause before you act