Hearing Silence: Understanding the complexities of silence in democratic classrooms and our responsibilities as teachers and teacher educators. A response to "Creating a Democratic Mathematics Classroom: The Interplay of the Rights and Responsibilities of the Learner."

Kersti Tyson, Allison Hintz, Andrea R English, Diana Murdoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This response to Priya Prasad’s and Crystal Kalinec-Craig’s article on the interplay of the Rights and Responsibilities of the Learner aims to engage with and add on to the authors’ exploration of learners overexercising or opting out of their rights. While grappling with these challenges alongside the authors, our curiosity deepened about a significant and understudied facet of democratic classrooms: silence. Through this response, we consider the multifaceted dimension of silence and how a focus on silence may help us more fully understand the tension between learners’ rights and responsibilities to self, each other, and the collective. Specifically, we engage in dialogue around three questions: If students have the right to speak, listen, and be heard, do they also have a right to be silent, or is that right surpassed by a responsibility to contribute verbally, because classmates will not be able to learn from unexpressed thinking? If a student is silent, how do we distinguish if they are choosing to be silent or are being silenced? What might it look like to think about rights and responsibilities as collective rather than individual?
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalDemocracy and Education
Volume30
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • teacher listening
  • teacher education
  • mathematics education
  • teaching
  • silence
  • democratic education

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