Sunday, 2 February 2014

Listening without words

Yet again I am fascinated by the fact the language of play is so much stronger than the spoken language.
We have welcomed friends from Berlin into our home... godfather to Michael and his child. The two boys have four languages between them but no common language and yet they play and communicate with each other - and have been doing for the last four hours... no words, just sounds and body language and play.

I have seen  children get frustrated when they are unable to communicate in the language that others are communicating in... but here there is no frustration and my reflection is that when one child feels excluded because the others are relying on the spoken word then there will be frustration.. but when there is INCLUSION because the children HAVE to communicate in the same way - relying on other languages then there is not the same frustration... in fact they are starting to pick out each others language a little - BUT feel most comfortable with their sounds and body language communication. It will be interesting to see how this communication will develop over the week that they stay with us...

Do we lose some of our languages when we start with the spoken word? Do we forget how to listen with more than just our ears? Frances Pockman Hawkins in "The Logic of Action" (Lek och Lära: Barns inlärning genom logisk utforskande aktivitiet. 1976) wrote about her experience of observing and working with deaf four year olds... that there is the language of action - our first language before we master words (OK I am translating this from Swedish, so I might not be using the exact way she phrases things). She writes that teachers working with young children NEED to have this ability to understand not only preverbal children but also as they start to develop their spoken language - and that if we do not exercise this "action language" then we have a kind of deafness. Later on she writes about the language of photography as yet another method of communication.

Listening really is something that fascinates me... my ability to listen to children, to colleagues - to all those around me... and also my ability to scaffold the children's ability to listen to others...

hehe - I have been having a little fun with the photograph... BUT the language of this photo is saying - that we need to listen MORE - not just with our ears... but with our whole being... universal listening is not just to words...

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