Saturday, September 14, 2013

Giving is the best communication...

In my life, I have experienced the extreme blessing of parenting and working with children, adolescents and adults with complex communication needs.  In my job over the past eight years, I have stated how wrong it is that I'm the one we call "teacher" and they are called "students" as I so often feel that I learn more from them then they do from me.
I believe in interacting with people who do not necessarily use words to communicate, you become attuned to just how vast and deep "communication" actually is.  Every single act we perform throughout the day communicates a message and in any given moment we have the ability to have an incredibly deep influence on the world and the lives of those we come in contact with.

To communicate is to have an impact on the world around you.  The following video shows how "giving" is a very powerful avenue of communication...

As an educator I find myself wondering how we can create the circumstance for our students to experience giving so that we can set them on the path of ethical citizenship

In the book Reimagining Education: How We Teach, What We Teach, and The Systems in Which We Teach Jerry Goebel asks the question "What is one vital behaviour we could teach young people that would change their generation?"  His response is the ability to think empathetically and respond locally. He notes that when students do this they become both agents of change and social entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurism is about standing up, seizing an idea and then implementing it. The Ashoka website states: "Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss and improving systems, inventing new approaches, and creating solutions to change society for the better. While a business entrepreneur might create entirely new industries, a social entrepreneur comes up with new solutions to social problems and then implements them on a large scale."

Inclusion and "belonging" are often associated together.  Belonging is often thought to be about fitting in or being a part of but authentic belonging also involves contribution.  When you belong, you have an impact on the community and what you bring to it matters.  Angela Maiers touches on this in the "YOU MATTER" Manifesto...

The question of how we create the circumstance and environment for all members of a school community to find, use and develop the gift they have that others need seems to be at the heart of creating inclusive school communities.  As we move towards the recognition of each person's unique contribution, both of doing and being, we move towards inclusion. 

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