Quiet classroom, simple solutions

Language classrooms, specially ESL ones, should be noisy, not in the sense of a distracting noise, but a communicative environment. However, the question is how we can make it loud because students are speaking and using the TL and not because they are just making senseless noise.
One of the things that represented a real challenge during my Celta training was technology in the classroom, not because I didn’t use it but because I relied too much on it, according to my tutor. I didn’t really think so, but he tried to make me realize I could teach a whole lesson without any aids and today I thank him for that, what if there is no power at the moment of the class? Instead of feeling panic, now I can take a bunny out of the hat and keep a classroom running smoothly without any technological aid.
Computers, videos, music, podcasts, on-line games, and many more represent a great source for teachers, especially when working with YL or teens who have been raised in this tech era. However, going to basics also represents an advantage both for the teacher and the students, who have to rely on speaking and listening to simply share, compare, make dialogs, solve problems, or else.
One of the activities I love doing in class that involves no tech aids consist on dictating a problem, appropriate to the level, and giving students some time to solve it in pairs or groups. Afterwards, I encourage them to discuss what grammar structures and vocabulary were involved on the activity and what aspects of the problem they found most challenging. The outcome sometimes amazes me and makes me feel good because I can reflect on the advance my students have had.
Of course, balance is better. However, today I feel really thankful my tutor has pushed me to the edge on this as I can include simple activities that remind me of solutions for potential problems technology might have some times and keep my students engaged and speaking.