The coolest new way to calm students comes straight out of Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour.
The “silent challenge” has taken over social media, with Beyoncé concertgoers vying for the unofficial title of the quietest crowd during her performance of “Energy.”
After she sang the words “Look Around, Everyone’s Quiet,” Beyoncé, her performers And thousands of people in the crowd freeze, trying to achieve silence in the stadium. After a pause of several seconds, Beyoncé resumes the song.
After participating in a silent challenge during Beyoncé’s first night in Atlanta, Georgia, teacher Amber Drummond saw similarities between the silent challenge and the challenge and response she uses in her first class.
Call and response is a technique teachers use to calm their students and get them to focus. The teacher says a predetermined word that signals the class to give a specific response. By then the room is quiet enough to resume teaching.
After explaining the meaning of “mute” to her class, which she nicknamed “D-Hive,” Drummond tried the word on her students—and they went silent.
“I prepared D-Hive on Monday, and on Tuesday I just decided to practice with them to see if they remembered—and they did,” she tells TODAY.com.
She later shared a video of her class successfully completing the task without sound, and it went viral. Now, the mute challenge has become a tool for teachers to capture the attention of the class while having fun and sharing a piece of their authentic self with students.
“Students respond better to real people,” says Jeremiah Kim, a fourth-grade teacher in Kansas City, Missouri. “People have a radar to determine whether someone is sincere or not. The children are much more than we expected.”
Because the Silent Competition was practically created for classroom use.
Amina Muhammad, a first-grade teacher in Lawrenceville, Georgia, got the idea for the silent challenge from actor Jackie Harry.
“I hope teachers start using the ‘look around you, everyone is muted’ feature to calm their classrooms,” the Sister Sisters alumna, who used to work as a teacher, wrote on Aug. 13.
“I said, ‘I’m going to try this in my class,'” Muhammad told TODAY.com. “It was actually very innocent, I just wanted to do it because I went to the concert and I love Beyoncé.”
Muhammad describes attending the first night of Beyoncé’s Atlanta show as part of the Renaissance World Tour as “the best night of (her) life.” She and Drummond, who also attended this concert, were part of the first audience to “win” the silent challenge.
On August 11, as Beyoncé reached the part of “Energy” that tells the crowd to calm down, the crowd fell silent. In videos posted to social media, the superstar grinned at the silence, and as soon as she resumed the song, she shouted into the microphone: “Y’all won, y’all won, y’all won.”
Muhammad says she explained the concept to her class one day and they passed it on the first try.
“As soon as I did that, they went silent—you could hear a pin drop,” Muhammad says. “I haven’t had to discuss it with them a million times, I’ve really built a relationship with them… They’re always so eager to learn, and so every time I try to do something fun, of course they’re going to get engaged and want to do it.”
According to Muhammad, at first many of her students didn’t even know who Beyoncé was. She then played a version of “Cuff It” by Kidz Bop.
“They were like, ‘Oh, I know that song,'” she explains. “I think I’m already old. It’s crazy to think like, “Wow, this isn’t your generation. Beyoncé is not your generation.”
Since that viral moment, Drummond says he often uses the silent challenge in his classroom. Students take this point seriously.
“Before they do this, they sigh,” she explains, imitating the way her students inhale air so that you can’t even hear them breathing.
Adria Smith, a middle school choir teacher in Fairburn, Georgia, says her students are interested in the challenge because they, too, are Beyoncé fans. To keep Gen Z’s attention, teachers must meet them at their level, she said.
“It’s not that I’m trying to be a cool teacher, but I want to be a teacher that my students can relate to,” she says. “Just to show them that it’s okay to have fun, even in class.”
Other ways to invite Beyoncé to class
Throughout her 15 years of teaching, Drummond’s students always knew her as a big Beyoncé fan.
Her classroom has a Beyoncé quilt (a gift from one of her previous students), children’s books about Beyoncé, and a sign that reads, “Glitter Bees Thrive Here at the D-Hive.”
She also has several T-shirts that show she’s “not playing with this woman” – one says “Teach-once” and another says “I’m the Beyoncé of this school.”
Drummond says sharing her fandom leads to a degree of visibility that she didn’t get from her teachers.
“When I was growing up… in elementary and middle school, I didn’t have black teachers like that,” she says. “It’s a tough field.”
Likewise, Kim allows her fourth graders to share their love of music. In addition to frequently using the “mute” call, he also has another Beyoncé-themed call and response tied to her rap in “Heated.”
If Kim’s students manage to calm down and focus on him after this, he will let them know by ending the text with the words: “Your calling card will never fade, my God.”
“I will only tell them this if they can successfully get a callback,” he says. “This way we ensure that the situation doesn’t just descend into chaos.”
Kim’s use of music in the classroom is part of how he has developed a sense of identity as a teacher.
“When I first started teaching, I thought, ‘Oh, you have to have this image, you’re a teacher, it has to be formal, it has to be strict, it has to be a little boring,’” he said. speaks. “But I got tired of it so quickly.”