What is left unsaid

“I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence.
– Louise Glück, American poet –

Whilst we enjoy the beautiful construction of poetry; the way words are used as tools to conjure image and emotion, it is often what the poet leaves out that matters most. In the unwritten word, there is an understanding and a trust that exists between the reader and the poet. So much can be communicated and there is so much power in the unsaid.

One of the subtle, and often overlooked traits that great teachers possess is knowing what not to say. Sometimes this involves reading the ‘glint’ in a student’s eye and choosing not to express disappointment about late homework. Sometimes it involves sensing the ‘vibe’ in the room and laughing with a momentarily disrupted class instead of trying to immediately refocus them.

‘Glints’ and ‘vibes’ and ‘unsaid words’ all sound quite ethereal, immeasurable and unscientific. That’s because they are. They are part of the invisible beauty of great teaching.

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David Bott

Hi, I'm David Bott, Associate Director of the Institute of Positive Education in Australia.