Tag Archives: 2019

Dignity

I’ve done lots of work with students on the topic of dignity over the years. In 2013, my classes participated in Global Dignity Day for the first time. We learned about dignity and created products like collaborative poems on the topic.

In 2014, I built on our prior learning to personalize the idea of dignity. A post I penned four years ago called “Reclaiming Storytelling” describes the work done to address both the overarching question “Do teens really have to care about dignity and tolerance? and the idea that digital storytelling may be a way for Anishnabek students to reconnect and learn about their cultural worldview and perspective.

With the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Report in 2015, I embarked on a collaborative inquiry project with Jaclyn Calder called #craftreconciliation. Woven throughout this exploration of the report are the ideas of dignity: identity, tolerance, equity, racism, gratitude, self-worth, respect, and diversity. To answer the question, “What does reconciliation look like?”, students needed to unpack not only what it meant for others to reconcile, but what it meant for them to receive reconciliation. In other words, how could they think about reconciliation as an act of reciprocity? Is this an appropriate question? What other approaches might be meaningful?

These broad themes also shaped the work in my grade 9 class.

Reinventing Room 121 blog post from February 2015

So why “dignity” this year?

I have had a beleaguered year and in an effort to right the ship, my work with students shifted from an explicit discussion of dignity to that of gratitude. Upon finishing Alan Gratz’s Refugee, I launched my classes into a #12DaysofGratitude event. Each day students considered a pre-set prompt on an aspect of gratitude. I opened each conversation with references to the novel and then wrote my own gratitude tweet in front of them. The last prompt asked students to consider, “What do you wish for in 2019?”

So as I headed into the winter break, I had a number of obvious choices for #onewordont: gratitude, notice, note, attentive, observe. And yet, I hesitated. As each day passed, I remained noncommittal.

I ran different ideas past my husband. Then my daughter.

I talked to my 4 month-old puppies.

Eliot (named after George Eliot) and Socrates (named after..Socrates)

What about perseverance? Or persist? Or health? Or conversation?

I really wasn’t getting anywhere. In frustration, I put the whole endeavour aside and dove into the festive season. A diffuse learning approach is what I needed. Do a bit of baking and cooking. Play some cards. Tell some stories. Catch up on favourite podcasts.

On the morning of December 29, I listened to Seth.

And discovered, or rediscovered dignity, that it encompasses acceptance, gratitude, equity, respect, trust, forgiveness, and the idea of noticing or to see.

In Refugee, my students and I were repeatedly confronted with the power of being seen or not seen. In the end, being seen saved the day. The realization and recognition of our shared humanity make the world a better place.

Ultimately, I am compelled by Seth’s notion that

when we see each other, when we grant each other dignity, instead of stripping it away, we become more human.

This is what we need today, the opportunity to see and be seen so that we create a real opportunity for reciprocity in our personal and our public lives.

The alternative is soul-crushing.

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Filed under Year End Reflection

Why take on the #oneword challenge?

There are many reasons why one would take on this challenge, but for most, it comes down to focus and intentionality. Having one word through which to “see” your practice, to guide your work, and to reflect on your professional learning gives you a chance to be really intentional about your professional growth. Having one word to concentrate on allows you the time to delve into the nuances of the word, to look at it from various angles, to hold it close and then to view it from a distance. Having one word gives you the chance to be shaped by it.

Scroll through our Twitter hashtag #onewordOnt to read the vibrant and supportive conversation in this community.

Read a few of the #onewordOnt 2018 posts found on the community G+ site:

Finally, to ensure that I don’t miss your word, please check this document before January 18th.  If your word is missing, let me know via Twitter or in the comments below.

I am so eager to see our 2019 list!

Context:The #OneWordONT project began in 2015 with #OSSEMOOC (Ontario School and System Leaders Edtech MOOC – OSAPAC’s community of leaders learning how technology can change practice in education). By 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Education cut funding for OSSEMOOC, but I decided to continue the project since I believe that it helps build community and it offers a personal, non-threatening entry point to Twitter specifically and to a PLN generally

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Filed under Teaching