Silent students have long been seen as a problem in UK higher education. At best, they are perceived as shy, and more uncharitably, they are associated with poor communication skills, lack of confidence, and questionable academic ability. This chapter aims to take a broad, multi-dimensional view of silence – the origins and context of silence in society, the influence of psychology and mental health trends, and the role of silence in teaching and learning – in order to locate it in the contemporary higher education context. In a discussion that veers between trending debates in higher education around student engagement, performativity, and inclusion and gold-standard practices such as active learning, class participation, and peer learning, I attempt to frame silence as a critical pedagogy that disrupts the status quo, arguing for “a better balance between speech and silence, and contemplation and contribution in our classes” (Sequeira, 2020a).