The following is a true story and highlights how powerful it can be when an educator takes a moment to give an individual student the opportunity to express themselves. Such opportunities often only surface when the educator helps bring in a “pause” to the classroom so that a student can give the world the opportunity to share their idea. Below is an example:
A teacher was teaching a group of elementary students on cultural issues. In the course of impressing upon the students the need for unity, the teacher handed out black, white and grey crayons with paper. He then told the students to write something that indicates unity among people of different races. After a period of time, the class was done with their drawings and it was time for students to explain to the rest of the class what their picture depicts.
One such student, normally thought of as underperforming, had used one black charcoal color and drawn different shades of black. The paper showed the different colors in varying degrees of darkness. The teacher asked him to explain his writing and the other kids snickered. But the teacher issued a “pause” to all the other students and gave the floor to this one child.
The child then proceeded to explain his drawing of different shades and said “This is a picture of humanity. We are all come from the same crayon color – but we all have different shades of skin. The statement had such a powerful affect on the class that the other students clapped aloud to applaud the young boy of his art that unified humanity and unified all the students in that class.
Had the teacher not stopped the snickering of students and paused their ridicule, it is possible this child would never have been able to express their talents.
Word of Advice: Value the impact of a “pause” which is nothing more than stopping the swirling chatter of jeering voices and taking a moment to let someone express something important to them. K-12 educators around the nation are often exercising “the pause” in order to help youth in their classrooms have the motivation to speak up.