ImageYesterday 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.

  1. It gets their attention. Hearing the teacher whisper gives intrigue and mystery to the class. “Why is she whispering?” Better listen and find out.
  2. 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.


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