Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fear of silence.

I say nothing.

She wants to look from ahigh.

She sees much farther than me now.

She is a giant on the shoulders of a dwarf.

I take the photo in the only way that I can.

The moment is gone.

I feel caught between joy and sadness.

I fear we can not frame more than our shadows.

"Sustainable pedagogy."

I was thinking of those words this morning.

I was overcome with silence.


"Oh, I love silence," he had said to the counselling mentor.

She said nothing, she looked at him.

She said nothing, she looked at him.

She said nothing, she looked at him.

"What I mean is...."

His wordly confidence had left him stranded.

She said nothing, she looked at him.

Non-directive counselling.

It suddenly occurred to me that this moment had been foundational in my teaching practice.


I was speaking with a friend this morning.

"The problem with feeling competent is that we can take on too much," he said.

"I ended up with burnout and depression."

I listened to him. I nodded.

I returned and sat to think.

Sustainable pedagogy...

What does it mean to be a sustainable educator?

I search for the foundations of the counselling training that I had received 30 years before.

It turns up Carl Rogers.

I found a conference on empathy.

I sat to listen.

I hear:

"The most effective listening is where you listen for the feelings and emotions that were behind the words..that were just a little bit concealed. Where you could discern a pattern of feeling behind what was being said."

I ask myself questions:

"What are the feelings and emotions that lie behind our actions words, as teachers/instructors?"

"What are the feelings and emotions that lie behind the words and actions of learners?"

"What are the patterns of feelings behind an 'educational system'?"

"What patterns of feeling do our rituals conceal?"

Fear of silence.

I return to listening.

I find a few quotes of Carl Rogers.

I note them down for future reflection.

"Colossal rigidity, whether in dinosaurs or dictatorships, has a very poor record of evolutionary survival."

I think of massive investment in 'educational content'.

What do those investors feel for learners?

I think of rigidity of teacher timetables, of programs, of systems, of assessment, of teacher assessement, of buildings.

What does such rigidity reveal of the feelings for learners and teachers?

"The degree to which I can create relationships which facilitate the growth of others as separate persons, is a measure of the growth I have achieved in myself."

How on earth can our growth be measured?

Can pedagogy be sustainable if it does not accept change?

Are we really concerned about the growth of others or are we too full of our empty selves?

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change."
Carl Rogers

What is it to accept ourselves?


  1. Who are you calling a dwarf? ;-)

    FWIW dinosaurs did not go extinct for being too big and rigid, they were victims of a freak accident meteor impact, a disturbance if you will. True that mammals survived for being smaller, but w/o and external force, the dinosaurs would have continued, maybe evolving into highly compassionate, empathetic large creatures!

    1. So you say. I always suspected you were that old. Some extra fun is happening in the annotations on the side.

  2. Me.

    There is hope for us all.

    Maybe we need a freak meteor accident.

    May it be very small and land on Donald Trump. I don't think he has it in him to evolve.

  3. Left you poems littered in the margins ....

  4. I like the idea of poetic litter Kevin. Thank you.