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This paper is one teacher’s exploration of teacher talking time. As a language teacher the author understands that teacher talk is an essential tool of the trade and critical to the language learning process. However, she recognized that talking too much could be a problem. This paper describes the journey the author took to understand how and when to talk in the classroom. The author provides reasons and examples of why teacher silence can sometimes be more effective than talking. Throughout the paper, she focuses on the power of silence in the classroom when the teacher values it and when she uses it effectively. The author examines key areas of teacher responsibility: comprehensible input, clear and simple instructions, effective questions, observation and feedback. Within each area, the author raises issues around talk vs. silence, and she presents guidelines for quality instructional language. In another section self-assessment tools are discussed for this journey of self-awareness. The content of this paper has implications for all in the teaching profession.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research