Re: Listening and learning

EdEquity (
Tue, 17 Nov 1998 15:08:57 -0500

Jane and Sue wrote:
> "This was the intention behind the title answering back; in particular to hear
what kids have to say about gender reform without assuming that they have got it
wrong if they disagree with us."

This sincere effort to listen to and learn from kids is one that I have always
found vital to quality teaching and learning. I have also found, though, that
getting kids to talk often requires establishing a certain level of trust and
confidence that perhaps some change might be made as a result of the opportunity
to have voiced their concerns. Especially when talking about issues of equity,
gender, culture -- aspects that make up who we are as people -- it's not always
easy -- not just for kids, but for us adults, too!

We hear so often from girls, especially girls of color, that they do not feel
listened to, and in fact, get silenced. Once they have taken the risk to open
themselves up to discussion, so often I have witnessed (and experienced myself)
feelings of abandonment and betrayal when conditions do not improve. Their eyes
light up and their hopes increase when someone takes the time to listen, to show
them that they care. I often wonder how we can be better about not leaving them
with unfulfilled hopes.

I would like to ask of Jane and Sue, did you experience this among the students
and teachers that you talked with, in the process of gathering their voices, and
could you talk a little bit about that? And also, if you had had the
opportunity to include more recommendations in the book, what might some of them

Thanks for your impressive work!

Susan Carter

new message to this message