Sunday, March 18, 2012

Common Language

Speaking common language.

Recently I have had several nudges to make me think about spending time with people who "speak your language." In one context we were challenged to find people who have a common passion to bring positive change. In the second context we were challenged to think about how much you can grow from those around you who you don't always agree with. As always, both of these talks led me back to school.

It makes sense that at school, we gravitate to those who speak our language. For me, I align with people who are passionate about reading and writing. I love the language of those passionate about literacy, it is honoring of kids: their students' thinking, their efforts, their growth, and their struggles. They get excited about a new book or a snippet that a student has written, and they share it with other teachers. They celebrate minute and major student growth. And really, what is more honoring of kids than strong workshops and nudging literacy learning?

Good things come from common beliefs and common language. Good things come from questioning one another, once you have the security and trust of that common foundation. Sometimes when we ask hard questions at school, our very core can be challenged. But it is our common language that holds us together, our trust, and our strength that allows us to reconsider and reexamine, and most importantly take action.

Isn’t that exactly what we do in our classrooms? We build those strong foundations of language and expectations. Then we move forward together, digging deeper in our learning and thinking. We ask the questions that help young readers and writers to push their thinking and to take action.
I am going to be more mindful in my school community – am I only considering the opinions and thoughts of those who I have bonded with? Am I open to the challenges of change? Will I find ways to incorporate change yet be true to my beliefs, finding the balance? Will I be astute and open enough to really hear the hard questions?

Participating in the SOL challenge has strengthened my community of those who speak the same language. Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories and opening my world wider.


  1. This is a thoughtful post and had me thinking about my own "languages" and the communities where I speak them. It also had me thinking of places where I am a "second language learner."

    1. I love that - YES, I think I am a second language learner in some places :) THANKS as always for your thoughtful, creative comments and posts!

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  3. "But it is our common language that holds us together, our trust, and our strength that allows us to reconsider and reexamine, and most importantly take action." Powerful reflections!

  4. Josie - I am absolutely someone who gravitates to people who share a common language with me. Like you, that conversation is one that centers around literacy with children.

    It is much more difficult for me to listen to people who don't share that language. YOur post has given me something on which to reflect. Thanks for your insightful thinking.

  5. I just finished reading INSIDE OUT AND BACK AGAIN. I am thinking about what kind of "common language" we have in our classrooms when everyone doesn't know the same words. Maybe KINDNESS? (I hope...)

  6. I know why I gravitate toward inspire me to become a better teacher, mother, and person. Thank you for being you!