This blog is inspired by a piece called ‘Singing Lessons: A Hidden Pedagogy” by Katherine Smithrim. In it she writes that:
One of [her] favourite aphorisms about teaching comes from the Canadian composer and music educator, Murray Schafer, who advises: “teach on the verge of peril.”
“Over the years I have been building the courage to do that. To me, teaching on the verge of peril means letting go of being in control. It means trusting that the subject itself will engage us and draw us towards learning. It means asking students what they most want to learn, what their biggest questions are, and then changing my course plans, if need be, to honour their interests and needs. It means speaking my mind about political issues. It means continually taking risks, going into class with questions rather than answers, and being willing to say “I haven’t thought about that,” or “I don’t know. Who could help us?” It means fending off the inner voices which say “You’re not TEACHING enough; you don’t know enough about this.” (Journal of the Canadian Association for Curriculum Studies, Volume 1 Number 2 Fall 2003, p. 53-62)”
In my writing, I try to reach for those moments when I don’t know, when I run up against my own failings or when I’m inspired by the people I work with. There are plenty of all three. I’ve been influenced in my work by the preschools and early childhood centres of Reggio Emilia, by my colleagues and the children in my schools, by the time I spent at Bennington College, and by my on-going love affair with dance.
Please leave a comment, I can’t wait to read your thoughts!