When I’m writing this, I already visited 3 amazing schools, Brooklyn New School (BNS), Central Parc East 1 (CPE1) both in NYC and today Boston Arts Academy (BBA). Three different schools and yet so many similarities. I felt happy, cheerful when I walked into these schools. What is it that makes me feel this way?
I’m touched by the passionate way in which the teachers talk about how they want to create opportunities for all children. It doesn’t matter where you were born, what disabilities or diagnoses you have. You are who you are and everybody is gifted. You are welcome! That welcome feeling starts when you enter. There is a nice, positive vibe that immediately puts me at ease. Everyone you see or meet greets you friendly. The stories and drawings of the children followed by beautiful statements on the walls feel like a warm blanket. It immediately puts a smile on my face. In my school’s vision, we say that we want to give a warm welcome to everyone who visits our school. That is already partially successful, but it is not yet the warm blanket that I have experienced here. This nice vibe was not just there, but was created by the school team and the children (and sometimes also the parents). This requires a good relationship/connection between teachers and children, teachers, children and parents, teachers and teachers. This also means that you have to give children a voice. You have to listing seriously to them. After all, children know very well what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.
It all sounds so simple and logical and yet it doesn’t happen automatically. As a teacher, especially at the beginning of my career, I had the idea that I had to know everything. I had to transfer my knowledge to all children. As a teacher it was my job to teach children. Later on I felt and understand that it didn’t work that way. I needed to really know the children. I had to have more conversations with the children, observe and listen to the children seriously. It took time to learn to give all children the trust and a voice. I now know that if we give children a voice, and listen carefully we can better attune to their educational needs. If we stop giving answers but asking questions instead their (critical) thinking and ability to analyze will grow. If we also give children autonomy, time and space, we will improve their well-being and the involvement of children will be high. These are all important conditions for learning.
Now I am no longer a teacher but an IB-er. I don’t have children in my group but I have colleagues/ teachers in my team. I feel passion for every child, cause I believe every child is gifted. I feel the need to share my passion with my colleagues. As an IB-er it is my job to teach teachers. I have to learn my colleagues that it’s not about the disability or the diagnoses but it’s all about talents. I need to learn them about the importance of giving children a voice. I need them to experience this themselves by making a first step. That’s why I have to have more good conversation with my colleagues. Maybe I need to listen more carefully so I can better attune to their support needs. I need to stop giving answers and ask questions instead so I can promote critical thinking and the ability to analyze. These are important learning conditions for myself but also for my colleagues. Tomorrow I will make time in my agenda for more conversations with my colleagues. I’m looking forward to it.Recommended1 recommendationPublished in