Date of Award

5-1-2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Pensoneau-Conway, Sandra

Second Advisor

Stucky, Nathan

Abstract

In this study, I focus on the experiences of self-identified quiet or silent female graduate students in order to understand the reasoning behind our classroom communication. I start by defining silence and continue by reviewing literature surrounding the topic of silence. Then, I focus on my own experiences autoethnographically to understand some of the ways I have come to understand my own experience as a silent student. I further conducted interviews with graduate student women to get a sense of their understanding of their own silence; I use the transcriptions of these interviews as the data for analysis. Because some of the women identified as teachers, they additionally offered suggestions for working with silent students. In the end, I argue that encouraging students to communicate is about the combination of a variety of teacher behaviors that encourage in-class communication.

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