Thursday, January 8, 2009

whoaoo, listen to the music...

when i was a surly teenager, back in the mid eighties, my parents used to bust into my room and yell at me to "turn that music down." i would sit in my yellow bean bag, which sat on my yellow and orange shag carpet, and listen to loud rock and roll while i was doing my homework. they would say "you can't possibly be able to think while that music is roaring in your ears."

but i could. at least, i could do most of the kinds of work that my teachers were assigning to me. look this up in the book, fill out this worksheet, yada, yada.

now fast forward some twenty odd years later (and they were odd), and i am a teacher and i sometimes play music in the background of my class while students are working on things independently. i also allow them to listen to their own mp3 players or ipods while they are doing independent work at their seat. it doesn't bother me. my rules are that that i shouldn't be able to hear it and when i or someone else is talking the ipods are put away. it works for me.

our school rule about music players is that it is up to the teacher to make that decision in class. i'm ok with that rule. but we don't allow them to listen to them during their project time. the time when they can independently work on the projects that they have to present to teachers and peers every 6 weeks. they also aren't supposed to listen to them in the hallway. this is what i wonder about.

sometimes when i am trying to get work done here at school i put on my headphones still. it helps me shut the rest of the world out when i need to get things done. i don't have to participate in the discussions and i can focus on what i need to happen.

all kinds of research says that using music in the classroom helps students learn. where do we draw the line? that's what i want to know. i have no problems with the way things function in my class. if i'm talking or someone else is talking, you are listening to the speaker. if it is time for you to think on your own and work on your own, you can listen to your own little speakers.

i'm interested in what you people out there in the etherverse think.

so what do you think?


geoff said...

I'm not sure why or when music got a bad rap...but I know it began way before my existence.

Perhaps it has something to do with the age old expression, "People fear what they don't understand." I can remember my father getting very upset when I started to sing Hendrix at the dinner table as a young boy.

Music doesn't start trouble...people start trouble. Music is as harmless as the person listening to it.

I'll end with a quote from Martin Luther: "The devil does not stay where music is."

Izcalli Nava said...

It was my dad that would turn off the TV and turn on the radio when he wanted some "quiet time". Many would argue that it can't be very quiet if the radio is on but from my dad I learned that it is possible to use music to drown the out the outside world and focus on whatever task... including reading/doing homework.