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‘Dare to be silent’: Re-conceptualising silence as a positive pedagogical approach in schools

Su, Feng ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0317-4033, Wood, Margaret ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5067-1978 and Tribe, Robert (2023) ‘Dare to be silent’: Re-conceptualising silence as a positive pedagogical approach in schools. Research in Education.

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Abstract

In Western societies, school pedagogies tend to be biased in favour of talk and emphasise the links between talking, thinking and learning. Thus talk is often privileged over silence as the basis for learning activities in classrooms, sustained by theories of learning which afford priority to talk. Such cultural bias towards talk means that by contrast, silence can be perceived negatively and construed as a form of ‘non-participation’. Through a systematic literature review of journal articles relating to silence as a pedagogical approach published between 2000 and 2021, this article reappraises the role and value of silence in school education. Some of the apparent paradoxes of silence as a pedagogical approach, different types and uses of silence in the classroom, cultural dimensions of silence and the relationships between silence, power and critical pedagogy are examined. The pedagogical importance of silence as a participatory approach to learning emerges as a significant point for educators and the paper offers some suggestions for potential applications in classroom practice.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/00345237231152604
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7346

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