Thinking about CHANGEd: What if we taught children, not subjects? 60-60-60 #11 and reflecting…

Earlier today, before I read Bo’s eleventh CHANGEd post, I was sitting on a backyard swing watching a toddler play with pine straw. I had just read The Big Lesson of the Little Prince: (Re)capture the Creativity of Childhood and was inspired by her utter fascination with dirt, pine straw, and the few weeds that managed to grow amongst all the brown stuff. For me, the area where she was playing would have been merely a path to another place…certainly not “the place.” For at least fifteen minutes, this child explored, played, and created meaning in a place that I saw as boring, brown, and barely of interest.

Bo writes about shifting mindsets. From “I teach science” to “I teach children” or even “I teach children science.” In the article, Maria Konnikova provides a concrete example of how attitude, not age, matters:

In 2010, a group of psychologists decided to test experimentally the intuitive notion that, as we leave our childhood selves behind, we leave also some of that creative inspiration that is the basis of original ideas, innovative thought, and prescient discovery. They asked a group of college students to write a short essay: Imagine school is cancelled for today. What would you do, think, and feel?

All students answered the same question. But for one group, a single sentence was added to the instruction: You are seven years old.

Read the rest of the article to see how even we adults have hope to (re)capture our creativity.

So, what would the children have to say if we asked them the questions that Bo is posing — and that I am playing with? What would their answers be to the questions of this CHANGEd 60-60-60 thread? Cale Birk, Principal (Learner) at Kamloops Secondary School is toying with a similar idea. His most recent post, I Want to Go Back to Kindergarten, follows our line of thinking and questioning. I can’t wait to see where he goes — and what he learns by “going back to Kindergarten.”

We must tap into the creativity of our children. That means listening to their hundred languages. It also means that we need to re(capture) the languages we adults have lost.

The hundred is there.

The Hundred Languages of Children

~ Louis Malaguzzi

The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred, always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together
And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way.  The hundred is there.


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