Silence is golden. I heard the old song by the Tremeloes the other day – Silence is golden, but my eyes still see… and it got me thinking about silence in a couple of contexts.
The first context is illustrated by the old proverb ‘Speech is silver but silence is golden’ which is used when it is thought that saying nothing is preferable to speaking. There are times where each of us has spoken without thinking and then in the moment realised that what we just said is not appropriate and we wish we could unsay it. Those times when it would have been better to have remained silent rather than make a knee jerk response without thought. Words, once said, can never be unsaid no matter how many apologies or explanations you make.
Then there are those meetings where there is someone dominating the discussion. You sit there and you know, from what they are saying, that that person really doesn’t have a clue about the issue or the initiative and all they are doing is enjoying the sound of their own voice all the while allowing everyone else to see that they are making a bit of a fool of themselves. Far better to sit back and listen without saying anything. Then when the moment is right, you can contribute your gem to the discussion. The person in a meeting who is seen to be listening intently and only contributing when the time is right usually has their ideas or opinions respected far more that the blowhard who has dominated the discussion. I love this very old English statement: …all the considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of these, forbore to babble of what they were creating and projecting….Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and suspending Thought.
This applies to children in the classroom. The eager students who are the first to blurt out an answer or immediately give a solution without taking the time to think before speaking. We love their enthusiasm but we encourage them to slow down and give it some more thought and then give their answer; be silent for a bit. Understanding the need to stay silent while thinking and then respond is very much part of children’s learning. Those children who like to stay silent and think before they contribute can sometimes feel frustrated with themselves because it seems to them that other people think more quickly than they do. Understanding that we all think and respond at different rates and that those who are silent before answering often have the deeper ideas is also part of children’s learning. We teachers know that we need to give all children ‘wait time’, that is, don’t ask the first responders but just sit in silence for a little while before asking any child for their response.
The second context around silence is the literal meaning of silence; no sound. I’ll talk about this in the context of modern learning environments in my column next term.
There is such an excited buzz around the school, the Fair is just 3 days away. Please remember tomorrow to send into the office your baking or sweets. There are still raffle tickets available. I love the different approach to the VAS raffle where there are thirteen prizes and your ticket stays in the draw for all of those prizes. Gates open at 10am so bring your friends and family for this fun event.
Parent Interviews Next Wednesday and Thursday
Please email your comments form back to teachers by Monday so they can be prepared. Children may come to the interviews with you. Unlike the triadic interviews, your child won’t be leading the conversation, this is your opportunity to talk and share thoughts with the teacher about your child.