Clint Smith is a teacher, poet, and a doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University. In July of this year, he shared a TED talk that was just over four minutes long. It is a spoken word poem that I listened to three times and could easily watch again…and again.
Chris talks about “your silence” and how it is important to start giving a voice to those things you never say. Your voice is one of the most powerful things you have.
How do you create a classroom in which your students are free to express their silence, to say what has previously be left unsaid? How do school administrators create an environment in which faculty feel the same way too?
As a teacher in a PYP school, we talk about cultivating an attitude of empathy. But how? I think one way is to start having the conversations that are a little uncomfortable – but perhaps not as a first step. Like most things that you want to see flourish and grow on their own, building empathy can take a little ground work.
An article posted on Edutopia fits the bill well: Empathy – The Most Important Back to School Supply.
Mostly, I think we will find the silence will end when our students start to realize that what they have to say matters and that their silence actually speaks volumes.