Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Silence, Meanings and Learning: Teachers' Constructs of Silence and a Different Discourse of Practice in Teaching and Learning

Rosemary Elaine Ollin.

The manner and content 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 was teachers' perceptions of silence, exploring the hypothesis that people have different conceptions of silence and different associations with various kinds of silence. The inquiry focused on teachers' conceptions of silence 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 explore ways in which teachers may be helped to explore a different way of looking at their own practice.


Rosemary Elaine Ollin  (United Kingdom)
Principal Lecturer in Education,
School of Education and Professional Development
University of Huddersfield

I have been involved in post-sixteen education for nearly thirty years working in a variety of setting both in the UK and internationally. In the last six years I have worked on projects in China ( a number of times) and in Africa. Much of my work at present involves the education and training of vocational teachers in postcompulsory education, working in formal education settings and in other sectors such as the Health Service, Community and Voluntary Sectors. My main research interests currently focus on the following: ideas of how the individual practice of teachers can affect the structural constraints of policy and social context; the values and beliefs of individuals and how these translate into their practice as teachers; the impact of globalisation on education systems.

  • Silence
  • Constructs
  • Teachers
  • Teaching
  • Learning
  • Practice
  • Discourse

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)