In my own work, I suggest that we redefine what we mean by classroom participation. Teachers often define classroom participation as a verbal response that fits into a routine that the teacher has established. Typically, the teacher asks a question, the student responds and the teacher affirms the correctness of the answer.
Students are then said to participate. But can students participate without speaking out loud?
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Should teachers consider the times that a student gives silent assent to a question or thoughtfully jots notes for a future essay as participation? Are these useful forms of participation?
Do students have a responsibility to contribute to the silence of a classroom so that others can talk, along with a responsibility to contribute verbally to the discussion? Lahey claims that she wants to prepare her students for the future where verbal participation is critical for their success. I want us to remain cautious about labeling children as introverts, rather than understanding the larger contexts of how and why they choose to participate in certain ways.
Otherwise, the particular contributions these students make to the classroom community may be unheard, unrecognized, and discounted. The absence of talk might lead a teacher to assume the absence of learning. There are potentially grave consequences for students when teachers do not understand their silence as a form of participation. Want to Read saving….
Between Speaking and Silence: A Study of Quiet Students by Mary M. Reda
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Between Speaking and Silence: A Study of Quiet Students
Explores the question of student silence from students' perspectives and challenges the conventional wisdom about silent students. Published first published February 5th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Between Speaking and Silence , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Between Speaking and Silence.
Why introverts shouldn’t be forced to talk in class
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