Yesterday afternoon, I was assisting the director of Academy of Dance, Kim Rowley, with a class of 4-yr-olds. It’s a full moon week, so the girls were especially silly. Kim was instructing the girls to do ballet runs. In doing so, she lowered her voice to a whisper and told the girls that they mustn’t scare the fairies away. I watched, amazed, as the once rowdy group of toddlers ran back and forth in complete silence.
I’m sure it’s not hard to imagine that when a group of 10 girls gather in one room at 5:30 in the afternoon, things can get a little crazy. This would apply to any age, including my own, but it’s particularly relevant when talking about 5-yr-olds. I call it a case of “the sillies.” Various teachers have various strategies to deal with the noise. Today, I present the strategy of whispering.
For most teachers, including myself, yelling seems like a natural reaction to the noise. The kids are being loud, so I need to be loud. No. Not necessary. Yelling is not only ineffective, it’s a reaction. By yelling, the teacher has essentially lost control of himself/herself and the kids.
Whispering is much more effective. Lowering your voice to an almost inaudible level does two things for the class.
- It gets their attention. Hearing the teacher whisper gives intrigue and mystery to the class. “Why is she whispering?” Better listen and find out.
- Once it gets their attention, they simply must be quiet in order to hear you.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I never yell. Sometimes it’s necessary, but usually there’s an alternative. Believe me, whispers work.