‘It’s horrible. And the class is too silent’: A silent classroom environment can lead to a paralysing fear of being put on the spot, called-out, shown up, shamed or humiliated.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review

Abstract

With the relentless increase in the number of converter academies, the already fragmented secondary school system is fracturing still further. Since branching points, partitions and choice are all known to contribute to inequalities, the urgency to fully understand the roots and effects of marginalisation has never been greater. What can be done to pre-empt individual students from becoming marginalised and disengaged? What are the implications for best practise within schools and the ramifications for system structures?
This ethnographic study sheds light on disengagement, by giving a voice to marginalized students. The student participants are pupils who have spent some time being removed from the mainstream classroom setting, to work in a withdrawal unit, most commonly following a period of sustained low-level disruption. The research is primarily drawn from semi-structured interviews, with additional participant observation, as well as some small group or one-to-one teaching by the researcher within this unit. The data gathered was analysed through a process of grounded theory, Analysis of emergent categories indicates that students experience many barriers within the secondary education system. The focus here is one such barrier - the silent classroom environment.
Through poignant first-hand telling of their experiences, these marginalized students exemplify enlightening instances of this silent environment, as either constraining and tedious or as anxiety inducing, either of which may feed into academic underachievement.
The current trend for a strict classroom – rooted in part in issues of performativity - prioritises discipline and spawns many a silent classroom in the process, which can feed into further marginalisation of some students. Reforms promoting a more nuanced approach to behaviour management, encouraging more student-centred approaches to learning, valuing talk and group work, may all go some way to mitigating the barrier to inclusion which is the current silent classroom presents.

Conference

ConferenceVIII International Conference on Critical Education (ICCE)
Period25/07/1828/07/18

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '‘It’s horrible. And the class is too silent’: A silent classroom environment can lead to a paralysing fear of being put on the spot, called-out, shown up, shamed or humiliated.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this