Listen to the silence: The left-behind phenomenon as seen through classroom videos and teachers' reflections

Hagar Gal*, Fou Lai Lin, Jia Ming Ying

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study uses classroom videotapes to examine the phenomenon of students who are left behind during whole-class teaching. Zooming in via these videos enabled us to analyze these classroom situations by means of a compact, multi-perspective set of theories - van Hiele theory, conceptualization, and visual perception. The analysis provided a picture of the classroom interaction in which the sound of silence of those students who might not share understanding during the class discourse is ignored. Based on a sample of Taiwanese junior high school geometry classes, the study demonstrated how investigating situations of silence uncovered the possibility of teachers' unawareness of student difficulties or their unsuccessful efforts to cope with them. Teachers' post-lesson interviews and questionnaires shed additional light on the perspective of left-behind students. Implications of this method for pre- and in-service teachers' programs are briefly discussed, and some recommendations for change are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-429
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr


  • Class discourse
  • Geometry
  • Left behind
  • Low achievers
  • Problematic learning situations
  • Silence
  • Teachers' awareness
  • Van Hiele theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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