Is Silence Truly Golden?

Opportunities for talk, as explained in this article, are essential for both the language and intellectual development of young children. Without the richness of talk in the classroom, how can we expect students to develop the language skills necessary to enable them to respond with confidence to any assessment task, especially writing?

4 thoughts on “Is Silence Truly Golden?

  1. Lisa Reiter

    I would echo these concerns and also their persistence in other environments including some families, where unwillingness to explore difficult things – or the incorrect assumptions made about ‘protecting them’ – leads to a lack of emotional literacy and ability to fully process and deal with emotions in later life. All part of emotional intelligence which one might hope the structured educational environment would encourage as well as academic.
    There is a need for balance of course, as my chatterbox is still not always quiet in lessons when he should be! Great one for discussion, thanks Norah


    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Lisa, I agree with you about the importance of emotional intelligence. I have read Daniel Goleman’s excellent book “Emotional Intelligence” and plan to write about it at some time in future. Edutopia has a number of excellent Goleman resources which can be found at this link:
      I must tell you that I started listening to Stephen King reading “On Writing” today. I am so enjoying it. Thank you very much for the recommendation! 🙂


  2. Bec

    Fascinating article Nor, thanks for sharing. It is very interesting that silence is so encouraged, while at the same time verbal exploration is critical for the development of children. Perhaps it is a symptom of ‘synthetic’ learning environments – like large, quantitative-focused (as you discussed recently) institutions – where the structures of efficiency and measurement compete with free and open learning through something as inherent to all human endeavours as conversation.


    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bec. Of course, it is also important to have times for quiet reflection, for listening and sharing and for working without disturbance, but the importance of learning through talk should never be diminished. I like your description of ‘synthetic’ learning environments.



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