I invite my middle schoolers to bring their headphones to class. It’s not just because the year is 2012, or because stringy white ear buds are as ubiquitous as skinny jeans that sag beneath boxers. I want them to use their music and headphones for at least a few reasons…
It’s a beautiful way for students to attain instant solitude when it is needed in a class of near-thirty. Whether it’s listening to your favourite playlist, an audiobook, or a podcast exploring your passion, there’s a place for being in one’s own head in the sometimes-melee that is a middle school classroom.
Learning partners can find paired solitude when doing invaluable partnered work and thinking. It’s a hygiene-obsessed person’s nightmare, but it often aids the best kind of group work – that which occurs between two, not more, people.
I have so many metacognitive students. When left to their own devices (so to speak), many of them contend that music is a must for studying and/or learning. I don’t really see why that shouldn’t be leveraged in my classroom, simply because the proverbial buck ultimately stops with me.
Do you permit students to use their iPods and headphones in your classroom? What are your reasons for doing/not doing so?