This process uses writing and silence as tools for exploring a topic in depth as learners write their responses to selected material and respond to the thinking of others without talking.
- See Materials below for preparation.
- Group learners and provide each group with a prepared chart paper.
- Learners read the text or view the image in silence, then comment on the text/image and ask questions of each other in writing. You may wish to provide each learner with a different coloured pen or marker to make the back-and-forth flow of each group’s written conversation visible. Allow time for learners to engage in written conversation about the selected material.
- After a period of 10-15 minutes, learners leave their groups to view/read the silent conversations of other groups and write comments and further questions.
- When learners return to their original chart papers, silence ends and they can discuss the text and the comments written on the chart paper.
Select material for stimulating thought (e.g., questions, quotations, historical documents, excerpts from books, poetry, images). Give each group the same material to stimulate silent discussion or give each group different materials related to the same theme. Tape or glue the selected material to the centre of a sheet of chart paper to allow room for learners’ written comments and questions.
Adapted from: https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/teaching-strategies/big-paper-silent-conversation