Build rapport with students by listening to music in class.
Students often talk & disrupt just to break the silence in the room. An awesome teaching strategy is to acknowledge the silence so YOU take charge. Play background music & explicitly tell the kids that it’s on to take out the silence & help them work. This is not rocket science – if you want them to chill out, play chilled out music, alternatively, if you want them active & in group work, play some faster tempo music. As with anything, let them know that if they stop working, the music also stops.
Sometimes, music can be a bit of a distraction. If this is the case, you have a few choices:
- Play music they don’t know – I find bands like The Kite String Tangle have some chilled tunes that suits quiet/focused work.
- Play music they do know but remind them to be on task.
- Let the kids select a the next song as long as they show you they are working productively. Sometimes I have a created playlist they can choose from, where I know the songs are appropriate for school & don’t contain swearing. Other times, I fly by the seat of my pants and leave it open to them to choose responsibly.
- Playing Classical music has many reported benefits but the kids tire of it pretty quickly. I really question whether it is specifically the ‘classical’ part of the music that gives all these benefits, or if it is the ‘music’ aspect. I’d argue for the latter!
Whatever you decide to play, find a mode that works for the situation and get into it!
Is this a practice you use in your class? Do you have a particular artist that works for your guys? Include it in the comments – we would love to expand our music base!
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