Between Speaking and Silence

A Study of Quiet Students

By Mary M. Reda

Subjects: Education, Ethnography, Composition And Rhetoric Studies, Teaching And Learning
Paperback : 9780791493625, 228 pages, January 2010
Hardcover : 9780791493618, 228 pages, February 2009

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Table of contents

1. Listening to the Silences in Our Classrooms: A Study of “Quiet” Students
2. Considering the Problem of Silence
3. Locating Myself: Between Speaking and Silence
4. Situating the Study
5. “What Teachers Want”:Exploring Teaching Practices
6. Identity and Community:Negotiating Ethos and Audience
7. Learning to See in a Whole New Light: Reimagining the Silences in Our Classrooms
Appendix: Teaching Practices

Explores the question of student silence from students’ perspectives and challenges the conventional wisdom about silent students.


Why are students silent? Using written reflections and interviews, Mary M. Reda examines students' perceptions of speaking and being silent in a first-year composition classroom, and explores how their teachers, classroom relationships, and their own sense of identity shape their decisions to speak or be silent. By challenging many firmly held beliefs about those quiet students in the back of the classroom, Between Speaking and Silence offers the new vision that silence is not necessarily problematic.

Mary M. Reda is Associate Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York.


"Feminist pedagogues will find this book very interesting and will perhaps be enlightened as to some reasons for female silence and student silence in general." — Feminist Teacher

"…Between Speaking and Silence … will ring universally true for almost any professor … it offers an inquiry and a set of questions that just may transform our teaching practice." — Teachers College Record