Finally some time to text you all. The time difference of 6 hours often makes that difficult.
We have now visited 3 schools. Brooklyn New School and Central Park East 1 in NYC. Two primary schools that really give all children opportunities. Everyone follows the same lesson which is often a group discussion on a theme/subject in which everything is integrated. So nice to see that children with learning difficulties/ disabilities are in every group, but they don’t stand out. Children get a voice in how they want to look for answers. They learn by conducting their own research, guided and directed by the teacher. Children work together and have deep conversations with each other at a high level. They demonstrate what they have learned generally in a visual way and they present this to each other. Their proces in the form of posters, models, drawings, etc. is hanging or standing throughout the classroom and the school. They feel at home at school, they are seen and heard. Together they have fun and are proud of themselves and others. So beautiful, sometimes even touchingly beautiful.
Yesterday we went to Boston Arts Academy. A secondary school where 23% of the children have a learning disability. Many children are also Black or Hispanic and don”t get equal opportunities at other high schools while they have enormous talents in music, dance, theater, singing, fashion. Racism is a big issue here. Where your cradle has been and the color of your skin still opens or closes many doors. There is little equality of opportunity here, except in the schools we visited. The teachers these schools have a heart for children, believe unconditionally in the talents of children, look everywhere for opportunities to create opportunities for all children and talk about education with so much passion. Sometimes that really makes me quiet. The children themselves once again feel heard and seen. They feel in everything that they belong, that they are not failing but “gifted”. They shine with pride while practicing their talents. Teachers guide the children and give feedback with depth. These are wonderful conversations where children can make their voices heard and where there is no judgment. It is difficult to pass this on to you on a flat surface, but I will take the passion, the love for the child, the opportunities and the energy with me and embrace you all with this.
Lots of love from Boston, SabineRecommended1 recommendationPublished in 03: Goals apply to all students, 07: Demonstration of mastery;, 09: A tone of decency and trust, 10: Democracy and equity, Reis2023