How to deal with silences in an online session

In November and December, we will be sharing tips about different aspects of running online coding sessions, and hearing the experience of club leaders who are running their clubs online.

Many of us will be familiar with the hustle and bustle of an in-person coding session: excited young people asking questions, volunteers moving about the room, sound effects from various projects — the list goes on! 

Things may feel quite different in an online session. Participants will usually have their microphones muted and there will inevitably be periods of silence while they work on their projects. Some volunteers have said that this is something that they struggle with; they find themselves wondering if the young people are engaged or if they need help. Others simply feel uncomfortable with silence! Jon, who runs a Code Club in the UK shared with us:

Dealing with silences is something I have really struggled with, I used to try to think of things to say almost for the sake of it but have now trained myself to just let the silence be and to recognise the group for working well on their own. I used to hold control of unmuting as the host, but I don’t even bother with that anymore, as the group appears to just know what is appropriate — I’m really proud of the skills, both coding and non coding, that they are developing!!

This week, we caught up with some club leaders and heard about how they deal with silences in their online sessions.


Christina, USA

Darren, Ireland

Rohima, UK

Ross, UK

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