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  • Skribentens bildSuzanne Axelsson

Story about... a story

Uppdaterat: 18 feb. 2020

The last few days have been busy here in Ontario, Canada - holding presentations about pedagogical documentation, the pedagogy of listening and Original Learning (play and learning interwoven) - over two days once from the perspective of the Reggio Emilia Approach and once connecting to Indigenous storytelling.

I don’t tell THE story of the Reggio Emilia Approach - that story belongs to the teachers, children and parents living and attending the early years settings in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia. What I tell is MY story of being inspired by Malaguzzi and the pedagogical approach that started in Reggio Emilia.

When I first read about the REA it felt so validating - it did not feel the wow of learning something different, but a wow I feel like I am on the right path...

On this path I am always learning - from everyone I meet and every interaction I have.

This is something Hopi Martin at the “Land as our First Teacher” workshop also shared - the importance of telling our own stories... and not someone else’s.

I did not quite get to tell the last story of my presentation - time was not on my side with my sore throat and hoarse voice. I said I would share that story in a blogpost. But now I have been thinking about this from an Indigenous storytelling point of view which is based on an oral tradition of telling stories. So I am not going to write it down - because I know parts of the story will get lost - the emotional connection, the body language and that sense of community. So it is just going to be saved until next time we meet and I can share this story of mine the way that gives it the most justice and values it best.

Malaguzzi did not want to write down the Reggio Emilia Approach - because then part of the story is lost and more importantly it does not get to evolve - stories evolve as they connect to new stories - not that the story changes so much in their truth but that we get to understand the complexity of the truth better

Hopi also talked about not writing things down - because then we can’t listen properly. Something I had mentioned in my workshop the day before.

He continued to say that we need to take the time to listen many times rather than write it down - to let the knowledge seep into us and be a part of us - which I interpret as to gain a deeper understanding . An understanding that allows us to make connections - this allows us to be more creative - but it requires us to slow down and listen. Truly listen. To all the stories - and not just to tell the stories of others with your own voice - but to listen to the voice of others.

widen our perspectives

again it makes me think of the TedTalk “the danger of the single story”

Telling our own stories and listening to the stories of others means we need to be aware of our own subjectivity and the subjectivity of others - to be open to listen as a generous listener - to understand others. To create intersubjectivity - rather than objectivity - which is near to impossible with all our stories we carry.

we also need to listen to the stories of the land, of our cultures, of our history, of our traditions, etc etc - layer upon layer of stories.

The stories that contribute to our fabric of learning, life and well being.

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Suzanne Axelsson
Suzanne Axelsson
Feb 26, 2020

Absolutely please do share if you find they will be useful. I am being drawn to Indigenous storytelling and approaches in more and more of my reflections It’s a living process that evolves - and the product is our interaction with it... As soon as it is written down and becomes a product it also begins to age... This idea is fascinating me...


Feb 22, 2020

Thank you. I have been working with grade 1 and 2 learners with the concept of listening to honour the words of another. Sometimes there is only the taking turns between listening and sharing. I have been looking for ways to respond to the questions outside observers (admin and parents Where is the product of this lesson? Did they not write down their story? I have been tying it to indigenous teachings and rituals or oral tradition. Thank you for sharing this and I hope you will be comfortable with me sharing your words (with recognition) with these parties that seek to understand how this is learning. 💜

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