Photo illustration: Novita Eka Syaputri
This article is part of the Teacher's Note series on memorable moments of teaching.
My most memorable experience while becoming a teacher was when I handled a noisy classroom by raising my voice. It was indeed effective; the students got quiet and took their seats.
But the reality was different than what I had imagined. Quiet students did not always mean that they were paying attention to my lessons. In fact, they were busy with their own activities. When I gave them a project assignment, they could not do it. So I motivated them and offered personal guidance.
That experience made me reflect. I racked my brain to find ways for students to learn in maximum effort meaningfully because meaningful learning is not reflected in a quiet classroom, but rather from two-way communication between students and the teacher.
Meaningful learning can transpire in different ways so that students can focus on the instruction. In fact, meaningful learning can still occur even though the class is a bit noisy. That means a teacher must have good classroom management skills in order to establish an effective learning atmosphere. Thus, students can get effective, efficient, and meaningful instruction.
Subsequently, I tried different ways to quiet the students without raising my voice. I changed my approach by getting them to understand. I would ask them, “Do you want me to get angry or to be nice?” Of course, they chose the latter.
I also instructed them, over and over again, about the assignments they had to do. This way, the students did not feel pressured but instead understand what they had to do. My approach may be suitable for the Grade 1 students I teach, but I don’t know if it is applicable to other grades.
*This Note was written by SM, a primary school teacher in East Java.
**All articles published in the Teachers' Notes are the views of the authors. They have been edited for popular writing purposes and do not represent the views of RISE Programme in Indonesia or RISE's funders.