Amber Drummond, a teacher, was left mesmerized by Beyonce’s “Renaissance World Tour” in Atlanta, Georgia. The experience served as a catalyst that inspired her to do things differently in the classroom.
Looking for a new way to quiet her energetic students, Drummond told them about an incredible moment in the show, during the song “Energy,” when Bey brings the entire arena to silence.
“Big wave in the room, the crowd gon’ move,” Beyonce sings. “Look around everybody on mute.”
The crowd then suddenly goes eerily silent. At her stops so far on the tour, Queen Bey has consistently held command over this unannounced but clearly expected a burst of silence for about five seconds.
Then she breaks the silence: “Look around, it’s me and my crew. Big energy!”
The crowd erupts in cheers, and the song resumes.
Call And Response
Cities on the tour have been competing on YouTube to see who has achieved the quietest levels of silence. Drummond, a first-grade teacher, was interested in something else.
Drummond quickly saw a way to transform her Bey fandom into something that could help her maintain order in her classroom. And she had a feeling her students would love it as much as she did — a rare and exciting win when it comes to teaching.
She realized the similarity between what Beyonce had done with her Hive and what a teacher does with rowdy or disorderly students through the call-and-response strategy.
This teaching strategy involves the teacher issuing a predetermined call or cue – often verbal but can also be physical movements — and her students respond somehow in unison. It’s a quick and easy way for a teacher to get their students’ attention without having to yell.
When she came back to work on a Monday morning after the show, Drummond prepped her class for the “Mute Challenge.” She told them the “Energy” lyric that she would say, amounting to her “call” in the teacher’s call and response: “Look around everybody on mute.”
She then told the kids what their response would be (silence).
Students Hit Their Mark
The following day, the students, whom Drummond lovingly calls “the D-Hive,” executed their part perfectly, and Drummond shared their Mute Challenge video on her Instagram @braids_grades_repeat.
The video went viral, and Drummond was thrilled when NBC’s Today Show featured her in a news story about the Mute Challenge going viral among teachers.
“I prepped the D-Hive on Monday, and on Tuesday, I just decided to practice with them to see if they remembered — and they did it,” she tells TODAY.com.
Drummond later shared on her Instagram: “…this is the most talkative group of kids I’ve had in my 15 years of teaching. The #teachermutechallege worked. Now will it work tomorrow or next week (raised eyebrow emojis) probably not but imma take my win for today…”
Drummond isn’t alone. Happy teachers around the world are embracing the Mute Challenge and milking it for as long as they can. Actress Jackee Harry (@JackeeHarry) is doing her part to extend the trend as long as possible for teachers’ sake.
Harry, who was once a teacher and a bit of an icon on X, formerly called Twitter, tweeted, “I hope teachers start using ‘look around everybody on mute’ to quiet their classrooms.”
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This article has been produced by TPR Teaching. Featured image: Grey82 / Shutterstock.com
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.