Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Resonate: "To evoke a feeling of shared emotion or belief. To correspond closely or harmoniously"
Resonant: "Strong and deep in tone; resounding: a resonant voice. Having a lasting presence or effect; enduring. Strongly reminiscent;."

"Perfect Harmony", watercolor by Andy Smith
     When I recently read an article in which the author stated that, if a stringed instrument is vibrating, nearby instruments tuned to the same frequency will begin to vibrate, or resonate, in harmony with the original device, I began wondering whether my classroom was resonant in that sense. Could my students and I be thought of as stringed instruments, and could my goal be to get all of us tuned to the same frequency so we can resonate -- be in harmony -- together? It was a thought-provoking picture – a classroom resounding with insight and sentiment because it is filled with human learning instruments tuned to the same frequency. There are many ramifications of this idea, but one of the most fascinating is that any of the instruments can begin the vibrating. I could certainly be the tuning fork that sets the classroom resonating with ideas, but any student could, as well. If we’re all tuned to the same frequency, it doesn’t matter who “sets the tone”. We’re like the stringed instruments in an orchestra, all pausing to see if someone will start a string vibrating so we can all join in. As the definition above suggests, this can produce superb oneness and accord in the classroom, but, as the definition goes on to suggest, it also can create an enduring effect. A resonant classroom is one that stays in the memory – one that yields learning that lasts. Long after the students leave such a classroom, the “sounds” of the learning that befell them there will, perhaps, resound ever so softly in their lives. Decades later, perhaps a page from a book of poems discussed in my English class will still be resonating in a soft but significant way.

No comments: