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A couple times of year, a student will ask why the class works silently, rather than each donning headphones and listening to something.

There are several reasons the class works silently, each alone is sufficient reason to work silently:
  • Inappropriate Content - Individual headphone listening enables students to listen to content that is inappropriate, explicit, racist, with strong language, consumerism, substance abuse, discriminatory, or otherwise something that would not be appropriate.  Content can conflict with school policy, school motto, and the educational goals of the school.
  • Distraction for the Student - Selecting content from a device, repeating, selecting new content, changing volume, and the content itself distracts the student from the task at hand, and decreases the learning and/or productivity in the classroom.
  • Distraction for Others in Class - Similar to above, neighboring students selecting content, changing volume, is distracting.  Also distracting is content that can be heard by other students, expensive electronics (headphones, etc.), moving to the content, etc.
  • Ear Damage - Some students play media at volume that causes harm to their eardrums and lead to hearing loss.  Some earphones contain the sound such that it is impossible for the adult to know if the volume is harmful.
  • Inequity - Students have access to different devices (phones, media players), accessories (headphones) and different content, both based on family income.
  • Entitlement - When allowed once, there is an expectation that if devices are available at some times, and in some places, that they should also be allowed at other times, and in other places.  This can be perceived as a right, or an entitlement.  When this is not allowed, there is a disappointment and dissatisfaction.
  • Preference - When content is shared over speakers with a group, there are those who would prefer silence over the content, which may distract from their learning.  Selecting content in takes time, often class time.
  • Safety - School is an environment where emergencies can happen at any moment.  Students and staff need to be able to hear everything, and to respond immediately.
  • Transition - Transitioning from an allowed content time, to a non-allowed content time can be time consuming, and cause dissatisfaction, including when content is interrupted.
Given these points: Is there any way that ALL of these issues be resolved AND that the educational climate be improved for ALL in the classroom AND in other classes as well?  If so, what exactly would it be?  Be specific.

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