Listen! Seriously…Listen!

Cleaning between the ears

Today I was recording some audio for a podcast that I’m putting together and I had this aha moment that I didn’t know what to do with.  It wasn’t anything astounding but it was a powerful reminder of how the classroom (or any) environment can be a true challenge for some of our scholars.  Here’s the scenario:

I have a microphone connected to my iPad and another on my iPhone and this group of students are discussing an upcoming geology unit…and it’s awesome!  I love podcasting and I really geek out over good quality audio of kids being themselves.  When I’m in recording mode I’m SUPER aware of extra noises and sounds in the room.  During this session there were things that were amazingly present:

  • Adults in the room can be some of the biggest noise contributors!  This includes me…when the teacher is in the front of the room and extra adults are in the room washing their hands, moving chairs, preparing materials, talking in the hallway, coughing…you name it, it’s noise!  None of this is malicious, but it’s amazing when you isolate your senses to this one area.
  • The student tapping his shoe…just loud enough that I know the audio is picking up his shoe, not the great thing that his classmate just said.
  • The weedwacker running outside the window
  • One student snorting and blowing his nose
  • The iPad that accidentally makes an alert noise

The list goes on.  I’m not saying that any of these things are inappropriate or wrong in nature.  Noise happens…but think about that student that has trouble focussing.  If these things were driving me through the roof imagine what everyday in the classroom is like for that student.  Wow.  It was a great reminder for me to consider the students perspective (or anyone’s for that matter) before I do anything else.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to edit out some noise from the next RESVT Podcast!


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