“Listening… means giving value to the other; it does not matter whether you agree.”
– Carlini Rinaldi
In the book, In Dialog with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching, and Learning, Carlina Rinaldi (2006) describes a “pedagogy of listening” where listening “ serves as a metaphor for having the openness and sensitivity to listen and be listened to listening not just with our ears, but with all our senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, orientation)” (p. 65). Carlini Rinaldi continues to define listening as:
Listening as time, the time of listening, a time that is outside chronological time, a time fill of silences, of long pauses, an interior time. Interior listening, listening to ourselves, as a pause, a suspension, as an element that generates listening to others, but in turn, is generated by the listening that others give us….
Listening as an active verb that involves interpretation, giving meaning to
the message and value to those who offer it. Listening that does not produce answers but formulates questions; listening that is generated by doubt, by uncertainty, which is not insecurity but, on the contrary, the security that every truth is such only if we are unaware of its limits and its possible ‘falsification’ …
Listening that takes the individual out of anonymity, that legitimates us,
Gives us visibility, enriching both those who listen and those who produce the message (and children cannot bear to be anonymous). (p. 65)
Rinaldi, C. (2006). In dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, researching, and learning. New York: Routledge.
“Pedagogy of Listening” Observation and Analysis
The purpose of this assignment is to gain insight into children’s thoughts, interests, concerns, and perceptions in order to guide your interactions and facilitate learning. Choose one of the following “listening” options:
Choose a child in your classroom and “listen” to him or her over the course of a school day. Pay particular attention to his or her interests demonstrated through drawings, play scripts, books of choice, and conversations during small group work, transitions, or breaks from academic instruction. What do you notice?
Spend an hour or two with a child in a non-academic setting. Pay particular attention to his or her interests demonstrated through books, drawings, play scripts and conversations with you and/or other children. Take the time to really “listen” to the child. What do you notice? (the child can be your own child, a niece or nephew, a friend’s child or any child you are able to spend time with)
Record your observations in a narrative form and submit with a 2-3 page (use APA guidelines) analysis of your time observing and listening. Your analysis should include the following:
Describe the child. Include the child’s age and grade level, your relation to the child, the setting in which you observed, and the child’s demeanor over the course of the observation.
Discuss themes, patterns, or interests of the child that emerged during this observation. Reflect on interactions with this child prior to the observation or since the observation. Are there themes, patterns, or interests of the child that seem consistent over time? (If you do not see this child on a regular basis, you may want to check with the child’s parents or guardians).
What intrigues or concerns emerged from this observation?
How might these insights inform your practice? Describe interests of the child that could be woven into curriculum planning.