Ollin, Ros (2008) Silent and silenced pedagogy: an alternative framing of teaching and learning. In: BRILLE Research Seminar: Rethinking teaching and learning: challenging neo-liberal discourses of learning in the 21st century, 13 June 2008, University of West of England, Bristol. (Unpublished)

Current educational policies place an emphasis on the development of functional skills which are linked to national economic growth. Critiques of these policies suggest they promote technicist approaches to teaching and learning, policed by tightly-controlled processes of inspection based on the production of assessable evidence. In Ofsted’s examples of good classroom practice, high value is placed on overt student participation and on pro-active and observable interventions by the teacher (Ofsted, 2002). In these examples, student talk and teacher talk are viewed as signs of engagement with the learning process and reflect assumptions about what should happen in a formal learning environment. But they also reflect a particular cultural construct about the relationship between talking, teaching and learning which underpins interpretations of classroom participation and interaction. Using conceptions of ‘silence’ as an alternative prism through which teaching and learning can be viewed, this paper introduces the notion of ‘silent pedagogy’. This represents a range of subtle and complex practices used by teachers which are difficult to evidence, problematic to observe and hence are silenced within current educational discourse.

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