Listening to the Silences: A Teacher’s First Year in Words and Music


  • Charles Vanover University of South Florida Saint Petersburg



beginning teachers, interviews, personal narratives, ethnodrama, teacher induction, Chicago Public Schools


Listening to the Silences is an ethnodrama – an example of verbatim theatre that evokes a teacher’s first year in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) based on the words voiced during a series of four interviews sessions conducted by the author. The protagonist, Indiana Ingelside, spent her first year in CPS in an African American school in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. The show is intended to help the audience reflect on the beginning teacher’s experiences of working in that setting. The script evokes the challenges of teaching within environments shaped by social policies that do not address, and frequently exacerbate, the poverty, racism, and other forms of injustice that shape the lives of children and families of color. The article begins with the complete playscript and then concludes with an afterword that describes what the author learned from developing and producing the show. Photos from the Philadelphia workshops are included.

Author Biography

Charles Vanover, University of South Florida Saint Petersburg


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Select Conference Presentations

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Vanover, C. (2015). ‘Using ethnodrama to understand and communicate interview data’ Paper to be presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Arts-Based Educational Research Special Interest Group. Chicago, IL. 4/2015


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How to Cite

Vanover, C. (2016). Listening to the Silences: A Teacher’s First Year in Words and Music. Art/Research International: A Transdisciplinary Journal, 1(1), 174–207.