Setting up at a new school isn’t easy. But with some help from family, friends, and colleagues, I am pretty much finished. The classroom, however, is just beginning. Next week, when I officially head “back to work” I will begin setting up some initial provocations to help me find out who these new children are and what they are learning.
September is always a HUGE learning month for me as a teacher. I will be striving to learn as much as I can about each child: who they are, how they interact with others and the world, where they are on their learning journey. On the outside, I will be doing a lot of reminding about rules and supporting children as they establish routines. But on the inside, I will be mentally compiling a list of personal characteristics and a bank of memories of what a child has said or done each day. Every memory is accompanied with a reflection where I ask myself why a child is saying or doing a particular thing and how I might support or extend their learning.
To create a “pedagogy of listening” in the classroom is what September is all about for me. It is how I begin to truly know the students and it is this knowledge that will guide my teaching practice for the next 10 months.
An excerpt from Carlina Rinaldi’s The construction of the educational project in Reggio Emilia, Italy:
“If we believe that children possess their own theories, interpretations and questions, and are protagonists in the knowledge-building processes, then the most important verbs in educational practice are no longer ‘to talk’, ‘to explain’ or ‘to transmit’…but ‘to listen’. Listening means being open to others and what they have to say, listening to the hundred (or more) languages, with all our senses… Listening legitimizes the other person, because communication is one of the fundamental means of giving form to thought.
The task of the teacher is to create a context in which the children’s curiosity, theories, and research are legitimated and listened to, a context in which children feel comfortable and confident, motivated and respected in their existential and cognitive paths and processes.”
Comfortable and confident. Motivated and respected. These words are often heard among the many musings of parents and teachers as they talk about what they want their children to be.
I hope you’ll join me on this blogging journey as I strive to create a classroom culture that helps children thrive and become lifelong learners.
Dedicated teacher for the past 15 years. Lifelong learner. Newbie blogger. Follow me on Twitter @Baker1973Cathy