Add Chaos To Your Classroom
- Posted by: Shannon Amaadar
- Category: teaching techniques
We’re often told that we must avoid chaos in the classroom and create order. This is how we provide a good learning environment for students. But this may be sending the wrong message and inhibiting students from reaching their full potential.
If we challenge traditional classroom ideas, we promote a more intuitive learning environment. This can have a great effect on helping students reach a higher potential. A little organized chaos in the classroom can encourage critical thinking and logic skills in students..
Our focus as teachers is often results. We want students to test well, produce the right answers in class and generally act predictably, especially when there’s a full classroom to deal with.
But while students may be able to meet the expectations set out by teachers and administrators, we may be sending the wrong message. Students adapt quickly to expectations. Focusing on meeting those expectations, perhaps gets good marks and reviews, but leaves many underperforming and in a state of boredom.
This kind of strategy takes the thought out of learning. Everyone knows what is expected and so much like any routine it requires very little thought to complete the assigned tasks. Students aren’t challenged, and where there’s no challenge, there’s no learning.
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We should create an environment of discovery rather than a set of rules. These kinds of classroom strategy activates thinking muscles in students. It allows students to achieve better outcomes in terms of real-world learning and use. When students are asked to solve problems or are exposed to new ideas in a meaningful way, new neural pathways form in the brain.
It’s easy for some students to memorise different grammar rules, however, putting them into practice can be difficult. It’s especially hard when those grammar rules are challenged in casual speech. That’s why it’s so important to take the rules out of learning and focus on discovery.
Rather than setting rules and point systems for students to comply with we should allow a little chaos into the classroom to boost creative thought.
How do we control the chaos?
We can achieve this in many different ways with varying ages of students.
When working with young students you could try incorporating a slightly confusing element into a lesson. This encourages questions and inquiry. For example, you might place a large stuffed animal in one of the desks or allow students a day to wear crazy clothes or hair. These are both effective approaches. This changes the environment and primes students brains for learning. Something is off, so the brain is alert.
These types of activities spark imagination and thought. The language you need to ask questions or explain details can be practised in real situationtions. Discussions can start to take place; don’t worry about the grammar mistakes. Let students explore and discover.
If you work with teens and adults, classes focused on discussions work well. Current event discussions, and problem solving activities are great. When I introduce a logic puzzle to my own students it gets the class thinking about solving the problem. Students discover different ways the language can be used when they discuss possible answers . This kind of activity gives language importance. It’s much more effective than memorising a word list.
Every student learns differently. Studies are showing classroom strategies that are built on problem-solving build thinking skills better than memorisation. Students are allowed to reach their full potential without being held back by perceived expectations.
Try this logic puzzle with your students. It’s perfect for intermediate teens and adults, and will encourage students to use the language in new ways.