1. Provide visual prompts around topics that really matter to your students. The visual prompts should respect students’ intelligence and invite a wide range of interpretations.
2. Explain that you’re interested in their thoughts and feelings about what they see … then ask respectful, open-ended, non-leading questions .
3. Listen (really listen) to their collaboratively developed ideas, experiences and solutions. Real listening, as represented by the Chinese letter for ‘listening,’ uses ears and eyes and bodies and heart and mind.
Listening is only ‘real’ when attention is fully present … in other words: undivided. No matter our age, we can all tell when we’re really being listened to, and when we’re not.
Real listening is effortless when topics are interesting, unusual or personally relevant. KIDS’ OWN WISDOM shared-thinking opportunities are always relevant, so real listening is easy and natural for students.
What sometimes takes more practice is getting teachers to really listen – with fully present, mutually respectful, undivided attention.
4. Discover how much young children learn from and teach each other about what really matters to all of them. POWERFUL.
If you are concerned about the degree to which young children are increasingly the target of advertising andmarketing because of the amount of money they spend, the influence they have on their parents’ spending (the nag factor) and because of the money they will spend when they grow up, then please consider the urgency of addressing this problem when children are in preschool and kindergarten.
We need to support (engage and vigorously exercise) children’s natural-born abilities to think, to reason, to distinguish truth from lies.
We must consistently encourage children’s natural born curiosity to question everything and everyone, because at one point in their lives it will be critically important that they question politicians’ and marketers’ motivations and promises.
It is our responsibility not so much to lecture ashelp to switch on kids’ own awareness about the dangerous assumptions that skew perception – everyone’s: yours, mine and theirs. Trickiest of all, today’s youth needs to be able to recognize the difference between charisma and substance – as well as the unique impact of each.
Ask the kinds of questions that get kids’ minds stretching in directions that go beyond the obvious. Sharing insights and values with kids is a big part of our responsibility to them … but, for their true ownership of the values that will best serve them throughout their lives, we need to be repeatedly sparking their intelligence with theright kinds of questions that invite meaningful discussions and open the way to expression of their own personal insights and wisdom. (It’s never too early to start with this approach.)
Everyone is born with instincts and innate skill sets that, when honored, engaged and cultivated in the early years of life, have major influence on developing and anchoringself-trust.
Think about it: every baby knows when she’s hungry and tired. Every toddler knows what he likes to eat and with whom he wants to socialize. Children start out knowing and honoring their own rhythms, specific tastes and personal preferences.
And then “big people” start managing the details of children’s lives, because they know better. That message (that adults/outside authorities know better) is resisted for awhile, and then it progressively dominates, resulting in diminishment of intrinsic self-trust.
There are various responses to this progression, from resistance and rebellion to increased reliance on guidance and approval from ‘authorities,’ resulting in diminishment of self trust.
Outward manifestations of diminished self trust include:
Need for approval
Desire for external validation
Fear of failure
Manipulative marketers and politicians accomplish their self-serving goals more easily when their audience is populated by people with diminished self-trust (people whose dominant orientation is: “Others know better than I do.”)
HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO THE KIDS’ OWN WISDOM® APPROACH? When students receive consistent opportunities to participate in, and constructively contribute to, shared-thinking opportunities based upon *Stretching, *Open-ended, *Age-appropriately challenging, *Relevant, and *Respectful questions (SOARR-ing questions), they experience their own validity, and their self-trust is the ultimate beneficiary.