Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Educator Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot speaks so eloquently about RESPECT that I had to post some of her ideas here -- even though she doesn't write directly about poetry, I feel like so much of what she says has to do with real learning that lives inside relationships.

Lawrence-Lightfoot speaks about the educator as a "public adult" -- intense, wise, and generous, who enacts values through "authentic inclusivity" -- not just the rhetoric. The educator must bridge the gap between expressed values and daily actions, addressing the "ghosts of disrespect," both oblique and obvious, who haunt our school hallways and lives. She notes the "micro-aggressions" of the everyday that get in the way of enacting a compassionate culture with respect as the cornerstone. She insists that healing be a central part of education and that genuine interest in the lives of our students -- wanting to know and be known -- makes us vulnerable and open enough to hear difficult ideas and live the questions of our time. Endless curiosity is at the core of all meaningful relationships. To exist, we must be visible, and made visible by those around us. Finally, respect is about 1/symmetry, 2/relationship, 3/civility, and 4/storytelling. Respect is relational and generative.

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