Education is different all over the world however, the bottom line is the same. You go to a class and you listen to a lecture. You take some notes and go to another class. That’s the basic idea.
I’m not here to target how we study and the school system. I don’t consider my opinion significant enough and my experience wide enough. It works for some people, it doesn’t for some.
My fight is with a very specific issue at hand.
The archaic belief that a class should ideally be silent.
Silence in a class makes sense, at first. How else can someone stand before forty others and say something worthwhile unless all of them are silent? On this though, I have firsthand experience of over 12 years of school and 3 years of college so I know I speak for most of us when I say the following.
There is no place for silence in a class.
If you’re reading this, you’ve most probably been in and attended a class before. Reflect a bit on when was any class you’ve attended most productive as a unit? Was it when the lecturer was babbling on and on about something none of you could barely grasp? I think not.
It is at its most productive when the lecturer writes a problem or gives it to the class verbally.
Suddenly, the environment changes. As if someone sprinkled some sort of magic dust in the air. The silence and monotony rush out of the room as some people start solving the problem frantically. Watching them, the B-tier gets on it as well. People start talking to each other and taking inputs. Even if they divide themselves into smaller groups based on proximity, there is work happening. As this productivity reaches its peak and some people manage to find a solution, noise increases.
That is the precisely the point where you hear the following if you come from a system that is a little more archaic.
The productivity dies down. Instantaneously. There is no common goal. You can literally feel the energy going out of the class, oozing out of the doors and windows, as monotony settles in. Those who solved the problem don’t feel incentivized. Those who couldn’t, just give up on it and turn the page. No one cares anymore.
You know why? Because when the lecturer declares silence. The focus gets shifted from work to order and order is the biggest enemy of creativity and finding solutions.
Solutions come from problems. In a class where the environment is reset back to default – a lecturer standing before forty people explaining and speaking as he writes on a board that is digital or analogue – comes plainness.
With it, the problem disappears. Since there is no problem, no one wants to solve anything. With no one wanting to solve anything, the conversation dies. With that, the energy dies. Ultimately, everyone goes back to yawning and fidgeting and that peak of productivity that hit the class a while ago disappears as if it was never there.
This is precisely why silence has no place in a class that isn’t a pure lecture because what great idea did anyone ever think of when someone tried telling them how to think?