The Many Meanings of Silence in the Classroom

In our extroverted culture, it can helpful for us to remember that our students’ silence in the classroom means different things at different times. In “Silence in Teaching and Learning: Perspectives of a Nepalese Graduate Student,” Krishna Bista, Professor of Education, University of Louisiana, provides insight on “patterns of silence” in the classroom.

Informed by his own experience as an international graduate student hailing from a teacher-centered “culture of silence,” he offers an overview of the¬†literature on silence in the higher-ed classroom and information on cultural differences in learning styles and classroom participation. With teacher-centered education styles in mind, Bista¬†illuminates misunderstandings about, and multiple meanings of, students’ silences. He also offers tips for engaging quiet students in¬†expressing their thoughts aloud and on paper.


Bista, K. (2012). Silence in teaching and learning: Perspectives of a Nepalese graduate student. College Teaching, 60(2), 76-82.