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ERIC Number: EJ1035286
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
The Silent Unit
Sills, Liz
Communication Teacher, v28 n4 p240-245 2014
Silence is not nothing. Its presence can occur as a meaning-carrying message during interpersonal interactions, making it a vital aspect of communication. It can also both guide and limit behavior and cultural understanding (Braithwaite, 1999). At either level, silence can bring some ideas into an interaction while excluding others--it can both enable and constrain. Jaworski (1999) observes a detailed spectrum of the values of silence, each of which can have positive and negative impacts in communication. These include: (1) the linkage function, which brings people together or separates them; (2) the affecting function, which heals or exacerbates relationship conflict; (3) the revelation function, which may either bring information to light or hide it; (4) the judgmental function, signaling either agreement or disagreement; and (5) the activating function, signifying either deep thought or blunt mental inactivity. While silence has such great influence, though, it is hard to make this power apparent to students whose lives are packed with noise from music, phone conversations, and scads of other distracting accoutrements. The goal of this unit is to allow students to revel in silence while they learn about its vast potential. The unit is meant to prompt critical student thought about the cultural functions of silence by asking them to observe the silences in their past, while also giving them firsthand experience with each of Jaworski's (1999) values in the moment, where they might more easily grasp it and analyze it. Ad hoc understanding is valuable in its own right, of course, but placing students directly into an atmosphere of silence adds an experiential heuristic that lets them appreciate the theory being discussed as it happens.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A