Monday, October 5, 2015

Listen to me. Monday and Tuesday Fall 2015 Class 4

"Children cannot bear to be anonymous." 

"We cannot live without meaning, because that would leave our lives empty of identity, hope, or sense of the future. 
Children know this: they have the desire and the ability to search for the meaning of life and their own sense of self as soon as they are born."
The Hundred Languages of Children 3rd Edition Carlina Rinaldi p.234
How do we take our children (or anyone, for that matter!) from anonymity to visibility?

This is the very heart of why I always go back to my mission at Wonder Studio.

My intention of Wonder Studio is to be a place for philosophical consideration. 
A place of research for children and of children. And, of our relationships with our children.

"Listening" is the core practice and philosophy of the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy.
Therein lies the seduction to my soul. 

I observed my daughter the other day, being quiet around some new friends.
I asked her if something was wrong. Was she ok?
She said, "Yes, I'm OK. When I'm around someone new, I like to spend time observing for a while."
The Art of Observation.

A way of listening.

A way of seeing.

A way of understanding.
My daughter is turning 8 on Wednesday. 
She couldn't explain her ways of learning of the world when she was 1, 2, 3, etc...
But, she certainly knew then what she knows now.
"The Pedagogy of Listening."

Get ready for lots of quotes ;)
What does it mean to really listen?
Why should we quiet ourselves and listen?
How do we really listen?
"Listening is an active verb that involves giving meaning and value to the perspectives of others. A way of welcoming others and their differences, and a way of welcoming different theories and perspectives."
I love to read and hear about the Italian's conversations and work with American teachers. It's fascinating the differences in perspectives we hold. 
Carlina Rinaldi (Whose chapter we are now reading together...)
"American Teachers were worried because a child was in crisis, or they themselves were in crisis.
Carlina responds with,
It is not always bad to be in crisis, because it means that you are changing.
If you are NOT in crisis, it might be because you are NOT really listening to people around you. 
To be open to others means to have the courage to come into this room and say, "I hope to be different when I leave, not necessarily because I agree with you but because your thoughts have made me think differently."
It's magical when the pictures align with my intended message (See below!).
When children are working together, each is developing his or her own process by learning from the processes of others.
If you believe that others are a source of your learning, identity, and knowledge, you have opened an important door to the joy of being together.
It is because of my difference that I am useful to you because I offer another perspective. To learn as a group means to learn from the learning of others."
I know a lot of quotes! The Hundred Languages of Children (Again!) p. 236
It's unfortunate because so many of us feel we must answer the "Why" questions our children ask of us.
Maybe, that is the only error a child makes. OR, maybe, her greatest gift.
"When they ask "Why?" they are not simply asking for the answers from you.
They are requesting the courage to find a collection of possible answers.
We can destroy this attitude with our quick answers and our sense of certainty. 
The childhood habit of asking "Why" is the only way to maintain what is essential in our life: curiosity. 
Humanity exists and endures because we have developed our capacity for curiosity."
And, this is why I love what I am trying to do.

Create this context for listening.

Judgement stops our joy in our children.
When we judge our children and even ourselves, listening stops.

"Real Listening requires the suspension of judgements and prejudices.
Peace is a way of thinking, learning, and listening to others, a way of looking at differences as an element of connection, not separation."
The arts provide a simple and effective way to create a context of listening.
Combined with the attitude of scientific theory building...
We have a place where:
"adults are capable of the art of becoming surprised and amazed by children and their potentialities."
Loris Malaguzzi