Make noise to keep it down

Music in the classroom creates a positive working environment. Lots of teachers have music on in the lesson, but few of them use music to enhance the lesson.

When I have observed lessons in the past, I have often wanted to note the number of times in a room a teacher says something like “let’s keep that noise down.” It is not always noise that is not warranted, lessons can be full-on noise and be productive, it can, however, make it tricky for some students and yourself to be heard as you make your way around the room checking on the progress.

There is a very simple way of making sure everyone knows the correct volume in the class, you play some music, it has to be neutral music with no vocals, so the students are not distracted. Once the music is playing you make a simple statement, this changed my classroom forever. “If you cannot hear the music, then you are too loud.” Some students might want to fill the silence with noise, if you fill it with noise first you might be surprised with how well they respond. Once the students are aware that the noise limit is the music you can have the music playing as they enter the room.

This teaching tip can be developed over time you can add little things to this simple routine to enhance it:

•  Slowly the music down to reduce noise in the classroom.

•  Tell the students that they get to pick one song for the end of the lesson.

•  Use different music for starters and the main part of the lesson, this way overtime the students know when to switch tasks without you saying a word.

•  Say “you have till the end of this piece of music to complete the task”

Some of the toughest classes I have taught well responded really well to this, it sets the tone in the classroom.

As with all of the Rethink teaching tips, it is the consistency that is key to success.