The Pedagogy of Listening

The Pedagogy of Listening. The Listening Perspective from Reggio Emilia.I would like to draw your attention to this article written by Carlina Rinaldi and found here:

Carlina Rinaldi conceives school as a place that can play an active role in our search for meaning; where both adults and children seek individual and shared meanings; and where children are active, competent and strong.

How can we support children in their search for meaning? How does what children do and say inform our own search for meaning? Listening is crucial. When we take children seriously, when we listen with focus and concentration, we can enter into a dialogue with the child which benefits us both.

In her lovely book about teaching poetry, For the Good of the Earth and the Sun, Georgia Heard includes a chapter entitled “Someone who will truly listen.” When we are teaching writing we are in a privileged position. When children begin to write, to talk about their ideas and to read what they have written aloud, we must listen carefully. We must listen fully. We continue to learn about other writers, however young, however inexperienced.  Listen for what they are saying, not what you would say or do. Then we may draw on what we know to work in dialogue with them. Listening informs us. It opens up ways in which we can best work with the other. 

Rinaldi acknowledges that it is not easy. We must suspend judgement and set aside prejudices. When we are open to the other we learn ourselves and we place ourselves in a better position to teach. 

Listening is the basis for any learning relationship. Through action and reflection, learning takes shape in the mind of the subject and through representation and exchange becomes knowledge and skill.

Carlina Rinaldi


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