Having been in the classroom for many years, I have come to realize more deeply and to believe more strongly that listening to children's voices, both silent and heard, are as important, or, perhaps, are the most crucial tools to see where we are as educators in direct relationship to the children through our modes of teaching and learning. The pedagogy of listening means helping children and adults search for meaning and understanding in what they do, what they encounter, and what they experience. Listening to children’s theories enhances the possibility of discovering how children think and how they both question and develop a relationship with reality.
This possibility is really magnified as I work with with our youngest children many of whom are learning how to communicate with words. There is a greater need to be attentive to movements, tone, vocalisations, gestures, facial expression, touch… I am continuously trying to listen sensitively to all the many ways that children have to express themselves, with my eyes and heart, trying to understand what the children are revealing to us and to each other.
Our youngest children show us without words how they find ways to communicate with each other and to listen. They demonstrate social behaviors such as caring, soothing, helping or sharing - the development of empathy.
Listening is a sensitivity to everything that connects us to the others, not only the listening of the school but the listening that we need in our life. The most important gift that we can give to the children in the school and in the family is time . . . to offer our time to the children, because time is the only possibility for listening and being listened to by others
It is also essential to listen to ourselves, to who we are and what we want. Sometimes we move so quickly through our lives, we lose the courage of meeting ourselves. What are you doing? Where are you going? This courage to listen, this attention to what is inside ourselves is a sort of interior listening and reflection. Listening means being open to differences, recognising the value of another’s point of view and interpretation. Thus, listening becomes not only a pedagogical strategy but also a way of thinking and looking at the others. Listening is an active verb that involves giving meaning and value to the perspective of others, a form of assessment. This kind of listening is a way of welcoming the others and their differences, and a way of welcoming different theories and perspectives.