This website is best viewed using Google Chrome...
It is an emerging resource for those interested in the connections between silence and education. It focuses on schools in its name because it links to the book by Helen Lees (with its focus on silence in schools), but education is much more than schooling and the topic is broader than one author and one book.
Over time the site will develop to include a wide range of educational foci. Please return to see changes as they emerge. If you have experiences and stories to share, do post them in the comments section. This will create a wide-ranging resource for teachers and anyone else interested in silence and education.
Silence is a state of mind. It has little to do with an absence of noise...
What is 'silence in schools'?
'Silence in Schools' is a broad term for the introduction, practice and subject of positive, personally chosen silence in schools.
These silences in schools happen in various ways. They can be introduced to people through the teaching of specific techniques. Amongst those that are common are meditation and mindfulness. Or, they can be discovered without the need for techniques. By finding a silent space for a while. By dwelling in a mood of stillness and quiet. By staring away from busyness and talk, towards what is silent, such as looking out the window at a bird...
Schools as institutions are particular places in which to find and be in or with silence. They are places of organisational and political structures (at the macro and micro level). Silence has powerful affects on this environment.
Silence is most often something we achieve because we want it. Sometimes it comes towards us and surprises us. Our usual state of mind is like a monkey jumping from tree to tree. We are always thinking. So to reach silence, to be in silence is to make an effort to still the mind.
External conditions help a lot with this. Most important is how we think and how we manage our thoughts.
In this sense silence is not that strongly connected to noise or absence of noise. It is an experience. Many people say that experiencing positive silence that they have sought and chosen is a feeling that brings them peace, joy and satisfaction. It is also reported to increase levels of energy once a return to action reoccurs.
Dr Helen E. Lees has written a book which considers the phenomenon of silence in schools. Her book (see News page) offers a way to understand silence practices for schooling and includes theoretical and ethical ideas to frame how silence can be incorporated into schools.
Through empirical research Helen has found that silence in schools:
- is an art form that demands being talked about and managed
- has a technology and conditions of its own
- offers democratic potential for schooling
This website links to the book but is designed to become, over time, a further resource for schools and education concerning silence.
To order a copy of the book, go here: