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Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The 24th Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) Annual Conference

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130103 Higher Education| 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy| 130205 Humanities and Social Sciences Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Economics, Business and Management)| 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified| 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators

Avondale Research Centre

Centre for Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)



The value of interaction, discussion and dialogue in the online classroom is a common theme of literature about online education, especially because the discourse that typically takes place in on-campus classes does not naturally occur in online contexts. The noise associated with an interactive class is often viewed as an indicator that learning is taking place. So, can periods of silence also signpost learning or promote an environment conducive to learning?

Some theorists believe silence is regarded negatively – this paper is proposed in antithesis to this dark side of silence. Activities such as quiet guided reflection, thoughtful exploration of how to apply learning to practice and silent reading are possible ways in which silence offers pedagogical benefit.

This paper proposes that pedagogical silence can be employed to set up quiet moments before, during or after learning takes place; they may be teacher-initiated or student-led, structured or unstructured, formal or informal, planned or unplanned. This paper is not an attempt to define silence in a pedagogical sense, nor is it a defence of the pedagogical affordances of silence; it is a set of ideas put forth about how silence may be strategically embedded into teaching and learning spaces in higher education.


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