Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Hundred Languages of Children

I am currently taking an additional qualification course through York University. We are looking to the Reggio Emilia approach to learning and how we can encourage students to demonstrate their understanding in a variety of ways. Inquiry learning provides the students with an opportunity to engage with materials, each other, the teacher and themselves. They recognise themselves as capable learners and researchers, while developing critical thinking skills. 

Here is a poem that I love, as it explains the importance of providing opportunities for students to show their learning in a variety of ways. My goal is that my classroom be a place to support these 100 languages and allow the students to flourish. We are continually making changes to create an environment in which the students feel safe, comfortable, and challenged while being given the necessary opportunities to show their understanding. 

No way. The hundred is there.
The child
is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
a hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
A hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marveling, of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.
The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and at Christmas.
They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
They tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.
And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.
-Loris Malaguzzi (translated by Lella Gandini)
Founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach

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