Ollin, Ros (2006) Silence, meanings and learning: teacher's constructs of silence and a different discourse of practice in teaching and learning. International Journal of Learning, 11. ISSN 1447-9494

The manner and context of teachers’ verbal discourse has been well documented and much has been written on
the ways in which teachers’ use of spoken language impacts on the teaching and learning process. However,
there has been little about ‘the spaces’ between the words and the ways in which different social and personal
constructions of ‘silence’ may translate into classroom practice. This study begins to explore how silence occurs
intentionally or non-intentionally within the duration of a learning session and how some teachers conceptualise
and use silences. It is based on a pilot study acting as a prelude to a larger scale piece of research. The subject
under investigation is teachers’ perceptions of silence, exploring the hypothesis that people have different
conceptions of silence and different associations with various kinds of silence. The inquiry focuses on teachers’
conceptions of silences in their everyday lives (i.e. personal lives separate from their professional lives as
teachers) and, using these personal conceptions as a base, the ways in which they perceive their use of silence in
the classroom. By using their silences rather than their talking, the study begins to examine ways in which
teachers may be helped to explore a different way of looking at their own practice.


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