A year ago we debuted “Words on Wednesday” with posts connected to Stephen Brookfield’s workshop packet supporting “discussion as a way of teaching.” I wrote that first WOW piece – which appears here – while reading a new flurry of columns on silence in classrooms, which I reported on here as preparation for sharing a set of ideas about making room for quiet in a classroom. Our focus in that post was calling attention to the positive function of silence, and to distinguishing it from silencing classroom practices.
For this year’s launch of WOW posts, we’ve culled three images from last year to focus on cultivating silence as integral to learning early in a semester.
In playing with ideas from the Stephen Brookfield and Stephen Preskill book on teaching with discussion, I began to formalize ways of incorporating silence into class sessions – for reflection, for catching up a bit, for listening to what isn’t and is almost said, for hearing subjects and authors in addition to (even before) our own ideas.
Our hope is that the images themselves will spark new thinking, and that the PowerPoint version (shared here in full as Brookfield’s Slides using Silence) will be adapted by teachers who want to insert process slides into slidedecks they create for class sessions.