Classroom Chaos — Does it provide an environment for learning?


Have you seen the viral video of teacher, Ron Clark, doing the famous #Doitlikeme challenge with some of his students (link above)? Well, Ron Clark is the founder of the small, private middle school, Ron Clark Academy, located in Atlanta, GA where it’s not simply a dance academy, but rather a prestigious academic institution preparing students for successful futures.


I admit that I knew nothing about this school (and still don’t know much) until I saw the video posted all across Facebook, but the little that I have learned in the past couple of days makes me smile. I want to work there!!…ok not really because middle schoolers aren’t my thing, but it looks like the classrooms are FUN! That’s the kind of teaching I want to do! I’ve seen this video everywhere on FB but it’s the classroom clips in the news report that got me. So many teachers and administrators focus on classroom management and the idea that learning only happens when students are sitting in their chairs listening to the teacher talk. But teaching and learning research has shown over and over again that “doing” is better! I absolutely LOVE controlled chaos in the classroom!


Controlled chaos can be an environment that fosters learning in a way that makes school interesting for kids. On the outside looking in it make look like the students are all over the place and that they teacher has lost behavioral control of the classroom. However, years of research on teaching and learning has shown us that many people learn better by doing…especially when it comes to science and math. After all, at high grade levels we have laboratory time set aside to preform experiments in hopes that it helps support concepts learned during lecture time. Think about it, the recent flipped classroom craze also supports this way of teaching. Even those who can learn through lecture benefit from “doing” and those who learn by making connections with sight, sounds, and touch benefit tremendously from experiments, games, etc. in the classroom. This “controlled chaos” is how I want my college classrooms and the classrooms of the K-12 teachers who I work with to look like on a daily basis.

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