While at Beidler Forest I heard a familiar sound I had not heard in awhile – a rhythmic hand clapping pattern clapped as one-two-three-and-four. This is used to get a class’s attention, and the kids the repeat the pattern back to you.
I learned this trick when I was teaching music. It was a good way to establish pattern recognition, and I used it both as a warm-up game and as a way to get the class’s attention. When I moved from a music classroom to a regular classroom, I took the technique with me, often shortening to the pattern to what I heard at Beidler. Unfortunately, I had to abandon the practice.
Several at my colleagues at Brushy Creek also took up the clapping pattern. However, I heard it abused so frequently that it lost its effectiveness. The clapping should be done rhythmically and patiently. Ideally, it’s done as a set of three – first claps, then a combination of claps and snaps on the beat, then two snaps followed by two waves. The idea is that you move from a louder noise to get attention to silence. More often, I would hear teachers clapping AT the students in a quick, impatient bark. It would get their attention, but would often get them riled up, too.
As far as I know, I was the only one to transfer this technique from the music classroom to other class management situations. Therefore it was quite startling to hear it used by a Mount Pleasant teacher. Unfortunately, they did it completely wrong. The clap was the quick, impatient kind. Also, why would one use something so noisy in a place like Beidler? I would think that a silent motion such as a raised hand would be much more effective.