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some notes on the pause

Celeste's picture

I decided to take this post to consider the changes we made to the classroom structure.  After deciding on the idea of the 'five second pause', it become obvious that the system had its certain flaws.  The system was put in place to inhibit people jumping onto the end trains of others' comments.  Clearly, it only created a five second buffer before the inevitable 'jump' occured.  From what I could see, the point of the 'five second pause' was to encourage a moment of self reflection before the class continued the dialogue, to PREVENT the jump.  Here is where I found the issue; it's not a question of rule or law in the classroom. Ironically, it is about self limitation or self censorship.  Although it's important to voice your opnions and participate in the classroom, the only way to ensure a fair environment for all the student in the class is for those who speak more often to limit THEIR speech to make room for the comments of others.  Everybody just simply needs to be mindful of themselves, how often they are speaking, and whether there might be other students who want to express themselves as well, and whether their excessive speech is hindering that experience for them.  It really might be as simple as that, which no class-wide rule can inspire.


pipermartz's picture

I agree that the more active

I agree that the more active students should "limit their speech in order to make room for the comments of others"; however, is there also a way to encourage the more quiet students to contribute those comments? 

Our class is ultimately searching for a middle ground of equality in both opportunity and self-sacrifice. If active students challenge themselves by supressing some of their participation to proivde opportunity for more quite students to get engaged, how can we ensure that quite students will also successfully face their challenge to speak up and participate? We want everyone to have the same chances to speak and to sucessfully challenge themselves. Creating this environment is proving to be tough because both types of students (and yes, there are many more types and combinations of students, but for the sake of this discussion we have limited it to two) are polar opposites and fill each others' gaps.

By no means did the counting experiment work. Participants didn't take it seriously, which was especailly shown by counting quickly out loud and rolling eyes in a comical sense. It became a mockery that displayed overall frustration for our situation. Once a participant would start speaking and realize that they had breached the code of conduct, they would giggle, apologize, start counting aloud, and then begin speaking. These actions brought the class focus on the one student, waiting for them to speak instead of giving other students the opportunity to talk during that counting process. I found this to be particularly frustrating.

Hopefully, we can find a solution that can suppor the strengths of both sets of students.