Chandi, the kindergarten teacher at Living Wisdom School in Seattle, writes about how she redirects her students’ attention.
“One of my favorite ways of changing energy is using my classroom xylophone. I’m not a fan of teachers using a loud voice to call their classes for attention. I think it is jarring to their energy bodies. That is why I use the xylophone. I am also using whispering, with the xylophone now and singing a little song with freezing. I sing a lot and play harmonium with songs and melodies that I make up for transitions.”
(You can read more about Chandi’s classroom on her blog, Inside Out.)
One of my first experiences of the difference between the EFL approach and the traditional approach was very similar to Chandi’s story. I observed Melissa, our 2nd grade teacher getting students to come to the carpet for circle time. They were excited, talkative, and all over the room. She simply sat in the front and started to sing a chant that was very familiar and loved by the children. They slowly made their way over to the carpet, singing along, and by the time they got to the end of the song, everyone was in their spot. The energy was so calm and the children were all choosing to be there. What a difference from most classrooms!