Students in Baltimore allowed to listen to tunes?

Posted: January 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Yesterday I followed some tweets, which I found interesting. Today, I pose a different question but am still focusing on the influence of technology in classrooms. Now that I know students have access to cell phones that are powered on, I am wondering if they are also listening to music. I know many phones, such as iphones, are portable music devices as well as communication devices. I wonder if students are being allowed to plug headphones into these devices and listen to music as they work. If so, is this added noise beneficial?

I am assuming that at least some teachers are allowing students to listen to music. I teach remedial English to Baltimore County and City students, and my classes with city students come in the first day with their headphones on and music blasting, so I am led to believe that they have previously acquired this habit in their former educational environment. I have learned through observation that some students really can concentrate on academic work and listen to music simultaneously. Obviously they must be working independently because physically, one cannot hear music and a teacher at the same time.

We all have our own learning styles, as research likes to tell us. I don’t think I could think clearly, say if I was writing this blog and listening to my Itunes, but I have seen firsthand that some people can. I’m not sure if the music is calming or is just more bearable than dead silence, but I’m convinced that as long as the music isn’t distracting other students, it’s not a problem as long as the student is working independently.

Any thoughts?

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Comments
  1. Teri Wilkins says:

    You might be interested in Chris Brewer’s work (http://www.newhorizons.org/strategies/arts/brewer.htm). I think music is very effective to set particular moods. It can be used to calm or to energize students. I have seen students produce incredible artwork while working in a classroom where their favorite (albeit appropriate) music was playing. I also believe it can be a distraction, especially if focused attention is necessary. From what I understand, the brain is a multi-processor, except when it comes to attention, which is why talking on cell phones and driving can be so deadly. I know when I am in awful traffic, I have to turn off the radio so I can concentrate.

  2. mdeducator81 says:

    I’ve had students listen to rap while writing essays. I don’t see how they could concentrate; I know I couldn’t. They were very good at following the rule of only listening to music when they were writing independently, so I allowed them to continue (only a few did this). I know I can’t write and listen to music at the same time.

    Also, I am the same way in traffic. If I’m driving on unfamiliar roads, I’ll turn the volume of my radio down so I can concentrate. Once I was so engrossed in a CD that taught Spanish, I missed my exit coming home. I’ll take a look at the new horizons site you mentioned.

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