Modern Education Experts Profess Value Of Silence – Why Librarians Ignore

My unpleasant experiences in today’s libraries (both academic and public) have led me to seek out the source of what I perceive as a serious problem in modern education. The problem is noise, specifically the noise of human vocal interactions in places once revered as sanctuaries of silence.

It might come as a surprise to some people that modern librarians no longer guarantee generally quiet atmospheres for introspective learning. Even more surprising is the fact that these librarians shun silence, while they actively endorse what they consider livelier, more engaging learning environments.

From the perspective of an adult who understands learning as a deeply personal affair, this relaxed attitude towards noise in libraries is disabling. The reality of excessive noise in once-quiet spaces, thus, raises the question, “What has gone wrong in the minds of educators who now lead the charge in a battle against traditional quiet?”

My Answer

Just as classical values in the visual arts fell out of favor under the forces of popular, naïve revolts against perceived authority, so have classical values in education fallen out of favor under forces of similar naïve revolts. The process seems to have taken a little longer in education, but the end result is the same-a vacuous, relativist philosophy whose proponents denounce all authority by using authoritative arguments against the concept of authority itself.

A number of visual artists now realize that this outdated, cyclical contradiction has gotten civilization nowhere, except lost and longing for meaning.

As both an artist and a dedicated library user, I see daily evidence of this civilization lost to itself. I see people desperately lost in their own noises, sadly ignorant of their inner selves, and disturbingly inconsiderate of other people around them. I, therefore, suggest with confidence that the ideal of relaxed noise standards in modern libraries is not standing up well in practice.

While some education experts argue convincingly in favor of noise in the learning process, other experts (with a far greater grasp of intellectual processes) argue in favor of quiet.

An Underlying Flaw

In the following paragraphs, I list five peer-reviewed, scholarly papers written by contemporary education experts whose educational values pose a challenge to the values guiding today’s librarians. Beneath each paper’s citation, I list my interpretations of the authors’ main points.

Angelo Caranfa (2004). Silence As The Foundation Of Learning. EDUCATIONAL THEORY 54 (2):211-230.

  • The many arguments in educational literature are flawed, because they exclude silence from the studies of teaching on which they are based.
  • Both self-knowledge and discourse originate in silence.
  • A world of wonder, contemplation, and listening is revealed through a “language without words.”
  • We are at risk of becoming mere appendages of noises that our machines make, as well as mere appendages of our own verbal noises that we grow to depend on superficially, no longer defining ourselves through our decisions, our actions, and our judgments.
  • Defined by our noises, we become incapable of listening and incapable of speaking with any depth.
  • True learning does not take place when it is connected primarily with noise, profit, and utility.
  • Education based on silence teaches students to think logically, critically, and with sensitivity for the whole of things.

Angelo Caranfa (2006). Voices Of Silence In Pedagogy: Art, Writing And Self-Encounter. JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION 40 (1):85-103.

  • The failure of liberal arts education is in its exclusion of feelings and in its exclusion of silence from the processes of reflection and thinking.
  • Teaching is as much about listening as it is about speaking.
  • Silence encloses all things, including spoken language.
  • Feeling, intuition, imagination, and contemplative silence are necessities in learning or in knowing.
  • Continental philosopher, Maurice Merlot-Ponty argued that language does not give true, genuine knowledge of the visible world, but rather robs the world of its invisible essence. Consequently, any knowledge or language that ignores or de-emphasizes silence is inadequate.
  • When the flatness of mechanistic thought is allowed to rule, we cannot experience the depth of unfathomable existence.
  • An “aesthetic of silence” teaches us to listen in ways that integrate the intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions of our lives. The greatest shortcoming of educators is their failure to teach that there is more to knowledge than what we can tell.
  • An “aesthetic of silence” teaches us to tune into others.
  • Prioritizing the spoken word suppresses the transformative, creative power of personal knowledge gained in contemplative silence.

Ros Ollin (2008). Silent Pedagogy And Rethinking Classroom Practice: Structuring Teaching Through Silence Rather Than Talk. CAMBRIDGE JOURNAL OF EDUCATION 38 (2):265-280.

  • A negative perception of silence causes a cultural bias favoring talk, which establishes underlying preconceptions about what constitutes participation and interaction.
  • Formal learning in Western civilizations emphasize the value of talk, and this value remains relatively unchallenged.
  • Creative, productive interactions can occur where there is no talking.
  • Educators should make a distinction between activities that genuinely promote learning and activities (used unquestioningly) that promote other agendas.
  • “Social” learning theory has been confused with “sociable” learning theory.

Michael W. Shelton and Karen Shelton (1992). Silence Please: Silence As A Component Of Interpersonal Communication. Conference paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Southern States Communication Association and the Central States Communication Association, Lexington Kentucky, April 14-18, 1993.

  • Silence itself is a form of interpersonal communication where we say something by saying nothing. Two-way conversation, in fact, requires it.
  • Many original Americans (i.e., most American Indian tribes) honored quiet and discouraged profuse or promiscuous use of words. For these original Americans, the space between words was the realm where people develop character, self-control, courage, patience, and dignity.
  • Americans who later came to dominate the culture dispensed with the reverence for quiet, placing great emphasis on verbal communication, and often treating silent members of a group as the least influential members.

Michalinos Zembylas & Pavlos Michaelides (2004). The Sound Of Silence In Pedagogy. EDUCATIONAL THEORY 54 (2):193-210.

  • Ignoring the value of silence in education comes at a cost, to the individual and to society.
  • Respect for silence in education encourages humility, a sense of wonder, respect for the self, and respect for others.
  • “The current educational system in the West is rooted in ‘fear of silence,’ which is one reason the understanding of silence in negative terms prevails.” (p. 208)


These five papers document the fact that a mature outlook towards the value of silence in speech exists. The existence of such a mature outlook, however, in the face of its ignorance by modern librarians, suggests that an immature value system is shaping modern libraries. This popular, immature outlook, furthermore, is gaining great support from leaders who place more value on sustainable business than on true education. Under the influences of this immature outlook, people in charge of operating modern libraries measure success according to a lowest-common-denominator satisfaction scale, where profitable operation strategies sacrifice excellent education standards.

© 2011 Robert G. Kernodle

Art Therapy Schools: A Solution to Wellness

Do you believe in the power of art as a healing agent? Perhaps you might be surprised to hear that there is actually a brand of aperture called art therapy because more often than not, just like everybody else, you think self expression is just a form of self expression and nothing more than that. In the past couple of years, art therapy schools have changed the meaning of how people define artistry and how it influences people’s lives. When you ask these people, they will tell you that art therapy schools makes use of craftsmanship and all its therapeutic effects on people who have undergone illness, trauma or life-challenges that they thought they could not go through.

Did you know that creating abstraction helps people discover more about themselves and their capacity to do things? Well, this is the governing principle of people who are running art therapy schools. They help other people realize that they can heal through art production. The making art and the process of how one does such is known as an effective tool in helping a person overcome sadness of the terrible trauma that they have experienced. People go about a lot of dysfunctional events in their lives that do not really help in enabling them to cope up with the demands of the modern world. By simple enrolling in art therapy schools, a person will be able to become more aware of themselves and that is one of the aspects of a person that should be developed because if not, sadly, one is detached from the reality.

Art schools rankings have included art therapy schools especially because people have now recognized the great role that these schools are playing in maintain a peaceful and healthy community of people. Through the art that they produce, they are able to cope up with the struggles and challenges that life has to offer them. The process of learning is better enjoyed when they are doing it through art production because not only are they producing works of art but they are enjoying the whole process of it as well. No other type of learning and therapy can provide such convenience and help. Creating art is indeed pleasurable and helpful all at the same time.

Art therapy schools have been recently included in the art school rankings because the American Art Therapy Association have purposely led themselves out there to promote how art explicitly helps people discover the inner artists in them and at the same time encourage them to bring themselves out there to face the challenges of the real life. In addition to the helpful benefits that art education provides, the association of art schools has also implemented the standards of art therapy as an educational system to ensure that all those who practice teaching art as a form of therapy are guided.

Art schools have been institutionalized purposely to provide comfort to people who find themselves in the middle of a personal crisis. Sometimes, it is in the act of having faith in art that people are able to see themselves through the traumatic event. Art schools have continuously provided people with the help that they need and that makes all the difference.

Using Children’s Art Programs to Enhance a Homeschool Education

It is important to develop an appreciation for art and creativity in your child. Encouraging artistic talents helps a child expand their motor skills, enhances their retention and learning ability, and can build excellent hand-eye coordination. As children grow, it promotes a maturity and appreciation not seen in those who haven’t been exposed to children’s art programs.

If you homeschool your child, it may be difficult to find the time to teach the elements of artistic expression. Since much of your schooling must focus around academic subjects, it’s easy to pass over artistic endeavors. This article shows how you can make time in your schedule to include children’s art programs into your homeschooling day and illustrates the benefits of a children’s art school.

Art Always Has A Place

Never dismiss art, sculptures, drawings, or paintings as a nonessential hobby or extravagance. Along with artistic creativity, your child can learn a lot about history through art. Since sculptors, painters, and other types of artists often communicate the history of the times when they lived through their art, these pieces help children appreciate different periods in history. For instance, a painting created during the Renaissance will open up a discussion about the culture and people of that era.

Incorporating Children’s Art Programs

The easiest way to incorporate art into your child’s education is by attending children’s art school. Many children’s art programs and schools even hold classes especially for homeschoolers with a curriculum designed to foster a homeschooled child’s creativity, imagination, and curiosity. Even if an educational facility isn’t an option, it is possible for parents to incorporate children’s art programs into their own homeschooling lesson plan.

Give your child art supplies like clay, charcoal, watercolors, and pencils so they can create works of art on their own without any direction. In addition, study true artistic masterpieces, focusing on how shadow, light, and color choices can create the mood of an art piece. Talk with your child about space, perspective, and composition. Ask for your child’s insight on classic works of art and guide them through developing their own natural creativity without correction.

The Advantages Of A Children’s Art School

These classes can provide your child with artistic appreciation and creativity, allowing them to explore and express their own artistic interpretations and talent. An art specific educational facility can teach your child fundamental art skills that they can use to create their own artistic works. For example, a children’s art program will accomplish more than teaching you child to draw. A children’s art school will help your child understand the basics of balance, proportion, composition, color, and perspective while introducing different forms of media including clay, pencil, oils, pastels, charcoal, watercolors, and more.

A children’s art school can offer your child an outlet for expanding their imagination and creativity while maintaining focus and completing projects. Your child will develop patience, confidence, and persistence without the fear of criticism. Consider enrolling your child in a children’s art program today to provide the enormous advantages of a children’s art school.

The Benefits of Music Education to Children


Music is a very powerful subject – It has been used since the Greek times for healing, communication, relaxation and for enjoyment. Even before birth we are aware of our mother’s heartbeat and during infancy are relaxed by the song of a lullaby. Every day everybody hears some form of musical pitch or rhythm and it can even be found in nature such as how birds communicate through a song-like speech.

Music is such a powerful force, it creates deep emotions in humans – it is played at weddings for happiness, in horror films and during war for fear and at home for happiness and because of this lends itself to relaxation, stress relief and health therapy – and the connection between music, body, and soul has even been shown to improve physical and mental health.

Skills such as working in teams, communication, self-esteem, creative thinking, calmer attitudes, imagination, discipline, study skills and invention are learnt and improved through the study of music and by focusing on the fact that young children are mostly highly receptive to pitch and rhythm – one of the main ways a child learns its language – that we can drive education in music to children to help them with benefits ranging success in society and in life.

“We believe the skills the arts teach -creative thinking, problem-solving, risk-taking, teamwork and communications – are precisely the tools the workforce of tomorrow will need. If we don’t encourage students to master these skills through quality arts instruction today, how can we ever expect them to succeed in their highly competitive business careers tomorrow?”

-Richard Gurin

Chief Executive Officer, Binney and Smith, maker of Crayola crayons

Music is a part of our society and a part of all communities – every human culture uses music to carry forward its ideas and ideals. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures. This development of compassion and empathy, as opposed to developing greed and a selfish attitude, provides bridges across different cultures that lead to a respect of other races at an early age.

Music has a great value to our economy – it creates jobs, increase’s tax base, boosts tourism and spurs growth in related businesses. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace such as teamwork skills and discipline – during musical performances all members must work together to create the sounds they wish to achieve and for this regular practice is also required. Music favors working and ‘doing’ as opposed to observing, and these are the ethics employers are looking for.

Because of music’s ability to relax, calm and heal, and its optimal platform for emotions, the involvement with music helps to carve brighter attitudes – more optimism towards the future, less TV and non productive activities, low use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs and desire to develop individual abilities.

Music requires study skills, communication skills, and cognitive skills and as these are learnt and developed they expand the student’s abilities in other academic areas and help them become better students. – Students with coursework/experience in music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT: students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math, than did students with no arts participation. — College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College

Entrance Examination Board, 2001.

The discipline of music, particularly through participation in ensembles, helps students learn to work effectively in the school environment without resorting to violent or inappropriate behavior – According to statistics compiled by the National Data Resource Center, students who can be classified as “disruptive” (based on factors such as frequent skipping of classes, times in trouble, in-school suspensions, disciplinary reasons given, arrests, and drop-outs) total 12.14 percent of the total school population. In contrast, only 8.08 percent of students involved in music classes meet the same criteria as “disruptive.” — Based on data from the NELS:88 (National Education Longitudinal Study), second follow-up, 1992..

Many studies have been conducted on the effects of music in the brain. Scientists say that children who are exposed to music or those who play an instrument do better in school than those who don’t. Recent research suggests exposure to music may benefit a child’s reading age, IQ and the development of certain parts of the brain.

It can be shown that some measures of a child’s intelligence are increased with music instruction – a connection between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things) helps people to visualize and imagine solutions. This helps people to solve problems creatively and is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for solving mathematical problems and even general daily tasks.

“The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling–training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attention skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.” — Ratey John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.

Along with mental development music study can support the brains physical development – it has been indicated that musical training physically develops the parts of the brain known to be involved with processing language and reasoning, and can actually wire the brain’s circuits in specific ways. Memory can be improved through the linking of familiar songs with objects just as linking images can – past memories and emotions can be triggered by audio.

“Why arts in education? Why education at all? The purpose of education is not simply to inform but to enrich and enlighten, to provide insights into life as it has been led and as it may be led. No element of the curriculum is better suited to that task than arts education.”

-David Kearns

Now retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Corporation

Ideally we want our children to experience “success” throughout life itself. The benefits may be psychological, spiritual and physical and with the challenge of making life meaningful and fulfilled and to reach a higher state of development by participating in music we develop self expression which in turn leads to self esteem – ultimately helping us to succeed at these challenges.

“Casals says music fills him with the wonder of life and the ‘incredible marvel’ of being a human. Ives says it expands his mind and challenges him to be a true individual. Bernstein says it is enriching and ennobling. To me, that sounds like a good cause for making music an integral part of every child’s education. Studying music and the arts elevates children’s education, expands students’ horizons, and teaches them to appreciate the wonder of life.”
— U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, July 1999.


Music is a powerful tool and as seen can dramatically improve and enrich everybody. It makes sense to push music education and to allow young generations to gain these wonderful benefits – higher intelligence through increased creative thinking, problem solving and physically stronger brains, a higher perception of life including better attitudes, strong desires to achieve and fulfil and higher self esteem, better developed discipline, study skills, concentration, communication and team skills which transfer from education through to career and a better understanding of communities and society

6 Tips on How I Become an Elementary School Art Teacher

How do I become an elementary school art teacher? – You probably already know that an elementary education teacher helps to guide the children within her class in both the academic and social areas. She helps them learn to socialize endeavoring to lay a foundation for success in later life. These are the basics. If you want to know how do I become an elementary school art teacher, then there is even more to do to prepare to fulfill your future role.

Here we will cover some of the basics of what you need to do to teach art to elementary age students:

1. To begin with, you will definitely need your own formal education. Very few places allow teachers to teach without credentials, including a college degree. Indeed, more and more are wanting a master’s degree. Beyond this formal education you will need to obtain whatever licenses and/or certificates are needed within the state where you will teach.

2. In addition to the basic elementary teacher requirements, an elementary art teacher may just find it’s good sense to get one of the following degrees as well. It could be any good arts degree available such as a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, visual arts or even studio arts. You may just want to check with the state where you plan to teach and see if they require a specific arts degree.

3. In your search for the school from which to receive your formal art education, take the following things into consideration. Start with seeing if any of your potential instructors have worked in the same area you are endeavoring to enter – elementary school. This will be a big bonus. If it’s at all possible, get to know these potential instructors and even sit in on some of their classes.

4. If that works out then the next thing you should do is see what kind of help they will give you after you graduate. Do they have a department or counselor in this potential art school that will help you find a job after you graduate with your degree? They just might charge for this additional service so be sure to find out what the school’s rates are for this job placement service.

5. Beyond this, you will want to talk to former students that have graduated from the school for their testimonials if the school will let you have some names. Most schools will have several people you can talk to about their program. Try to learn all you can about the school, teachers and job placement service to help you make a decision.

6. Getting your degree is not just enough, though one would assume you do have an affinity for the subject or you would not have pursued it. You must love art as well so that you are able to lead your elementary school students with enthusiasm as well as knowledge through their art lessons.

We hope the above points have helped you to answer your question of how do I become an elementary school art teacher. It is through obtaining the required degrees and certifications including an art degree. Once you have done so you will find yourself on an amazing adventure in helping all your students to more easily express themselves and perhaps to love art as much as you do.

Copyright 2007 Sandra Wilson