Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Using photography as an art of listening

Communication is not just about words and sharing ideas… it is just as much listening and receiving ideas.
As teachers and adults we are often put in a position where our words have more impact than the words of children. Through the Eyes of the Child is a project that will allow us to listen to the children – maybe in a new way for some.
I have written about listening before The Art of Listening on Interaction Imagination  where I ponder about what listening is and what it means.  Philosophy with children is an excellent way to listen to children and their ideas, and also a wonderful way for the children to learn to listen to each other too.
When children understand they are being genuinely listened to, it will encourage them to speak more freely and share their ideas with others.
I personally work with pre-philosophy – helping children hone their skills of listening, concentration, creativity, expression etc to be able to participate in philosophical dialogue. I see taking photographs as part of this skill building…
Children learn to CHOOSE what the object of their photograph is going to be, learn techniques about how best to take the photograph and express their idea through an image – whether this is their idea of fun, of beauty, of friendship or some other deeper idea that they wish to share…
When they have taken photographs they will need to make a selection… which image most represents that idea… they need to compare and explain their thoughts as to why one photograph is better than another. If this is a group activity there might be the need to enter a dialogue as to why this photo rather than another should be selected… will everyone agree? Will more ideas and alternatives be brought forward that the children can listen to and learn from and maybe deepen their own understanding of the ideas… maybe even learning that the same photograph can represent different ideas depending on who is looking at the image.
It could be that an image that represents the MOST differences of opinion is the photograph that gets chosen – BECAUSE of the rishness of the dialogue that ensues.
It could be a fun/good idea to start discussions about photographs… by selecting a provoking image for the children to discuss, or to choose two photographs for the children to choose their preferred image and explain why. This can help the children learn to TALK about the photographs and also learn to LISTEN to each others’ ideas about them…

Here is a website with images of How Children play around the world
Here are two photos to get you thinking too (found on pinterest)… it is just to go online and find images that can get you thinking… to get the children started in a dialogue.
This is not inspiration of the kind of photographs the children should be taking, this is JUST a way of practicing COMMUNICATION! It will be the children themselves that will decide the subect of the photograph… and afterwards they will need you to LISTEN to what their image communicates…

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