The “Quiet” Student

We are all familiar with that student who never speaks up in class or critique. As a teacher, it can be very frustrating, because it highlights the fact that certain students are verbally participating while others aren’t. Resentment can build in the “talkers”, and the teacher often assumes that the “quiet” student has nothing to say or is disinterested. But look at it from the “quiet” students’ point of view:

“As a quiet person, I have had trouble speaking up in class my whole life. In the past, I did not speak in classes much at all, and I’d feel frustrated because I felt I had more to say than some of the people that talked frequently in my classes.”

The teacher must realize that some people prefer to express themselves verbally, while others prefer to do it in writing. Likewise, some students are comfortable talking in front of a group, while others prefer to do it in a one-on-one situation.

 Therefore, creating a classroom or critique environment where both the “talkers” and the “quiet” students can feel comfortable expressing themselves is vitally important to the overall effectiveness of the classroom or critique experience.

To gain more insight into the “quiet” student and how silence in the classroom can be a tool for learning, read Professor Mary M. Reda’s article “What’s the Problem With Quiet Students? Anyone? Anyone?”

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This entry was posted in Actively Engaging Students in Classroom, Critique, Evaluating Student Work, Learning Styles and tagged , , , , by Jane Alden Stevens. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jane Alden Stevens

Jane Alden Stevens is a photographer and educator who is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati. An active artist, Stevens has exhibited and published her work extensively both in the US and abroad. She is the author of “Tears of Stone: World War I Remembered” (2004). In the course of her teaching career, Stevens taught courses in film, photography, and professional practices for fine artists. Her interest in teaching practices was deepened when she started teaching the "Graduate Teaching Workshop", a required graduate level course for fine artists and art historians that prepares them to teach the courses they will later be assigned. She was also involved in the Preparing Future Faculty program at the University of Cincinnati, which prepares masters and doctoral students across all programs for teaching at the university level. She has conducted pedagogy workshops for a variety of universities, as well as participated in academic practicum panels at educational conferences. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Stevens was honored with the all-university Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and Professor of the Year honors in her college in 2011.

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