A Way Out of Silence


Lauren Rolwing for the Chronicle Review

Certain students in my literature classes never say a word. Sometimes this is because they are blatantly uninterested, regardless of how I stress the importance of participation. Sometimes it's because they are unprepared, scouring the wall to avoid eye contact. Then there are those brave few who work up the nerve to contribute after weeks or months of coaxing, making me feel like I've won a gold medal in teaching.

But the most confounding group is the