Friday, May 6, 2016

Follow directions -- or drive change

 By Marisa Geitner, president and C.E.O.

As I continue to study and experience the Reggio Emilia-inspired philosophy as it is lived out through our Expressive Beginnings Child Care, I am amazed at how in step it is with our community-wide conversation on full citizenship. With interactions structured to provoke questions, learning becomes individualized and self directed, even in shared learning environments. This allows children, as they develop their sense of self, to also understand their contribution and belonging within any new experience. A Reggio-inspired teacher might challenge others by ensuring that the children spend much more time asking questions than they do following directions. 

How do we begin to enrich our adult conversations in the same way Reggio-inspired teachers enrich the conversation with youth? By showing an interest in others we are in conversation with and asking another question, opening them up to their unique story and their unique contribution. As we improve our ability to truly listen, it allows us the opportunity to engage in conversation differently.

It is in these enriched conversations that we'll advance by:
Seeking to listen, understand and respect the perspective of others.
Trusting one another to set aside the judgment that can limit our ability as human beings to dig into the tough stuff.

Let's work hard to have the kind of conversations that welcome others into the struggle that limits justice, freedom and the rights of others. Superficial conversations lead to superficial solutions, enriched conversations lead to true and just social change. It can't be achieved alone. It takes the work of a full community.

Where do you see the need for social change? How are you welcoming others into conversations that lead change?