This study identifies and discusses causes of unnatural silences in traditional K-16 schools, and the unnatural silences and silencings suffered by students and teachers as a consequence. Informed by research on the benefits or value of practicing (or creating space-time for) natural silences in and outside the classroom, it examines how practicing natural silences (e.g. meditating) can enable the practitioner to overcome unnatural silences, and heal the wounds of silencing. Unnatural silences are defined as the unnatural thwarting of latent human capacities, such as voice, emotions, authentic sense of self, critical and creative thinking, that struggle to come into being within an individual. It is argued that when unnatural silences are imposed upon an individual, the individual often suffers silencings, negative effects of unnatural silences, such as powerlessness, voicelessness, passivity, self-estrangement/fractured-self, depression, and anger. Natural silences are that necessary space-time that allows cultivation or emergence of latent human capacities such as critical and creative thinking and emotionality that lie fallow within us waiting for awakening, unfolding or growth.
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