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Should school corridors be given the silent treatment?

The introduction of ‘silent corridors’ in some schools has sparked debate about the value of silence, writes Helen Ward

Arrive early at school on a dark morning and you can walk along silent, empty corridors; the only sounds are the hum of electric lights and your own footsteps. At that time and place, silence is dull and taken for granted. Five hours later, in the midst of a busy day, obtaining silence now seems as likely as bottling that early dawn.

“When I ask trainee teachers what three things they want, silence is literally always number one,” Sue Cowley, teacher trainer and author of Getting the Buggers to Behave, says. “They want children to be able to be able to listen silently – that is always the ...

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