The Ellipsis

Funny how we meta-talked yesterday, because today we’re going to discuss the opposite: the value of silence in the classroom.

Today I taught my first mini-lesson (it lasted for 20 minutes or so) and one of the criticisms I took to heart especially was that I didn’t leave enough time for silence during my lecture session. When I say silence, I mean: pauses long enough to let students think; minute-long waits that are actually a minute long; ellipses that create spaces for students to digest. Indeed I’ve decided that one of my major goals for the end of the second week practicum will be to teach so as to allow for multiple, prolonged places of thought.

I’ll be brief, because irony would mean writing a full-blown essay on the value of silence. The conversations I’ve had today on the necessity of teacher-provided silence in the classroom boil down to this: within silence, in the absence of intake, being loosed from listening, we can then create. With too much talk the students become intake-focused rather than output-creative, and without creation the student will lack in real learning. As my business SA put it so wisely, “I would teach but I don’t want to interfere with their learning.” Indeed, as I (hopefully) experience better the value of silence, I am looking forward to seeing what silence will create.


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