Publication details

Silent students and the patterns of their participation in classroom talk

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Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of the Learning Sciences
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords classroom dialogue; participation; silent students
Description This study is concerned with the ways that patterns of student participation in classroom talk are constructed, focusing on silent students who participate in whole-class conversation to a limited extent. We conducted an ethnographic survey in two ninth-grade classes. We made video recordings of the lessons and interviewed the students and teachers. We observed eight focal silent students-four high-achieving and four low-achieving. Participation patterns of high-achieving and low-achieving silent students diverge. High-achieving silent students are often called on by the teacher, and they give extended answers to difficult questions. Low-achieving silent students are called on rarely. High-achieving silent students use silence to consolidate their position as exceptionally capable students; low-achieving silent students use it to consolidate their position as less capable. However, it is possible to engage low-achieving silent students if the teacher notices their momentary spontaneous urge to participate and creates space for their voice in the classroom. The paper focuses on the silent students who are often overlooked in studies on classroom talk. It calls for specific attention paid to low-achieving silent students who are limited in their learning opportunities and thus facing educational disadvantage.
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