Document Type

Photo Essay

Publication Date



In this visual essay, I explore the concept of silence as an interpretative phenomenon. In preparation for an inquiry into instructors’ and students’ experiences of silence in class discussions, I readied myself for the study by conducting a self-study of what silence meant to me. My rationale was two-fold: a researcher acknowledges and includes biases as part of the research in interpretive inquiry, and I was at odds with how to describe the disconnect between my personal appreciation for silences and my discomfort with silence in the classroom. The obvious response is that different spaces make different demands of my thinking. However, as I allowed the dissonance of the research topic to infiltrate my quiet walking times, where normally, I cherish the opportunity to be silent, I looked at the imagery of the landscape to listen to what silence might say. Using a synesthetic process, when the words seemed elusive, I listened with my other senses to allow passageways for the language to describe the ineffable. More questions arose, naturally. Is it silence that is the ineffable or silence tells of the ineffable and that there is something interior to be heeded? Silence may yield responses if one cultivates the patience for letting it linger.