This summer I am participating in #CyberPD, a community of learners who are gathering virtually to read Being the Change: Lessons and Strategies to Teach Social Comprehension by Sara K. Ahmed. Many thanks to Cathy Mere (@CathyMere) and Michelle Nero (@litlearningzone) for organizing this learning opportunity.
In the Introduction to Being the Change, Sara Ahmed provides this context:
“This book is based on the idea that we can develop skills and habits to help us comprehend social issues and participate in relevant, transparent conversations. Social comprehension, like academic comprehension, is how we make meaning from and mediate our relationship with the world. We understand that the meaning making, or socialization, is learned, not inherited (p. xxv).”
She offers a few guiding principles for creating safe spaces where this kind of work can happen:
- Do the Work Yourself First—and Often
- Keep the Focus on the Kids, Not on You
- Consider How You See Your Kids
- Be OK with Silence and Discomfort (aka, Don’t “Save” Every Moment)
- Decenter Your Normal
- Enter with Humility
- Remember that Progress Takes Time Effort, and Heart Work
I’ve been reflecting on these guiding principles and identifying the ones that come easily to me versus those that require more intention. Many of these principles challenge me to be more aware of the language I use and recognize that my language derives from the lens through which I see the world. Does my language reveal my inherent biases and beliefs? Am I unintentionally centering my world view and marginalizing those whose experiences are different?