Silent Moments in Education: An Autoethnography of Learning, Teaching, and Learning to Teach

Silent Moments in Education: An Autoethnography of Learning, Teaching, and Learning to Teach

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By Colette A. Granger
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
336 Pages
ISBN 9781442643208
Published Dec 2011
Online discount: 25%
 $69.00    $51.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442695658
Published Dec 2011
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $69.00

Colette A. Granger's highly original book considers moments in several areas of education in which silence may serve as both a response to difficulty and a means of working through it. The author, a teacher educator, presents narratives and other textual artefacts from her own experiences of learning and instruction. She analyses them from multiple perspectives to reveal how the qualities of education's silences can make them at once difficult to observe and challenging to think about.

Silent Moments in Education combines autoethnography with psychoanalytic theory and critical discourse analysis in a unique consideration of the relations teachers and learners forge with knowledge, with ideas, and with one another. This provocative and thoughtful work invites scholars and educators to consider the multiple silences of participants in education, and to respond to them with generosity and compassion.

Colette A. Granger holds a postdoctoral fellowship at Queen's University and the University of Toronto. She works in teacher education at these institutions and at York University.



List of figures

Prologue First Circumnarrative: the sun


  • Silent Moments
  • Conceptual framework: if it's not one thing, it's an Other
  • Telling the story: autoethnography
  • Reading the story: discourse analysis and psychoanalysis
  • The shape of the study: “Every moment is two moments”


  • Second circumnarrative: the wind

Chapter One

Stories about facts: Ethnography, autoethnography, discourse analysis

The facts

  • Ethnography and autoethnography: ways to write about things
  • Educational ethnography: ways to write about school things
  • Detour: Malinowski's diary, or, a funny thing happened on the way to autoethnography
  • Autoethnography: the researcher as one of those things
  • Discourse analysis: ways to think about things

Chapter Two

Stories of stories: Narrative, memory, psychoanalysis

The field notes

  • Reading the field notes
  • The personal
  • Narrative and memory
  • Psychoanalytic concepts: ways of reading and thinking
    • The unconscious
    • Repression
    • Deferred action
    • The mystic writing-pad
    • Screen memories

Chapter Three

Field notes, felt-notes, felt and noted: Silencing learning, silencing desire

  • The data
    • Field notes, revised, with feeling, first part
    • Feel-ed/felt-notes, second part
    • Felt, and noted, third part
  • Reading the field/feel-ed/felt notes
    • Psychoanalysis reads
    • Psychoanalysis reads resistance
    • Psychoanalysis reads repression
    • Psychoanalysis reads desire
  • Telling and re-telling: the same old story?
  • Difference, discourse, desire. And moving on

Part II

  • Third circumnarrative: the rain

Chapter Four

Curiosity kills the silence: On (not) representing sex in kindergarten

  • Mapping the body: pictures, words, silence
  • Constructing the child, constructing sex
  • Constructing the child: “sitting up, shutting up and lining up” in kindergarten
  • Constructing appropriateness
  • Orders and hints: reading the empty spaces

Chapter Five

Another nice mess: Teachers translated by technology

  • The computer and the teacher
  • The teacher's work, the teacher's power: autonomy and authority
  • A problem of identity: the teacher relocated
  • Self, love, work: the unconscious (in) teaching
  • Transference: the teacher in the (Lacanian) mirror
  • Translating and reflecting: computer screen as pixelated mirror

Part III

  • Fourth circumnarrative: the snow

Chapter Six

Neither here nor there: Difficult moments in teacher education

  • Coming to theory: assumptions and beliefs about teaching and learning
  • Resisting theory: changing minds and making trouble
  • Troubling theory: a psychoanalytic reading
  • Splitting (through) theory: the self divided

Chapter Seven

Ghosts that haunt us: “Forbidden narratives” of learning to teach

  • Thinking theory: from splitting to insight
  • Practising practicum: coming to the data
  • Telling the tale: the data
  • Power and resistance: reading stories with Foucault
  • The ghost and the host (teacher): reading stories with psychoanalysi
    • Who do I think I am? The return of the repressed
    • Who do I think you are? Transference in the practicum
    • Who do I think I’m kid(d)ing?
    • Who do I think I’m killing? Matricide and the practicum
  • Remembering and repeating, objects and stories: what comes next?
  • Fifth circumnarrative: the spring


  • Conversation
  • Reflection
  • Silence
  • Secrets
  • Ethics
  • Listening
  • Caring, loving, hoping

Epilogue Sixth circumnarrative: around and after words


‘Silent Moments in Education offers important insights and perspectives to education students, practitioners, and academics alike, its relevance echoing across different educational phases and locations. As such, it makes a significant contribution to understandings of the processes of teaching and learning and about what it means to write about these.’

Laura Teague, Pedagogy, Culture and Society vol22:02:2014