Crane School Blog: Focus on Learning

Featuring articles written by Crane Staffulty

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Everyone is Deserving of Reconsideration
Carrie Althoff

“What can a first impression tell you about anyone?  Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.”...

“What can a first impression tell you about anyone?  Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.” 

 

This excerpt from Amor Towles's novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, got me thinking about the work we have begun here at Crane School.  Each year, the Crane Staffulty has an opportunity to learn from professionals in a variety of fields to understand the latest pedagogy on a particular topic. This year our focus has been on diversity, equity, and inclusion.  We have had two insightful speakers, Rosetta Lee and Tanynya Hekymara, address our staff and parents about the critical importance of these ideas in moving ahead as a school and as role models to children if we are to help the next generation successfully navigate the multiple cultures and perspectives that await them. What have I learned from our meetings this year? There is much more work to do.

 

At a curricular level, it is important to show students the leaders and thinkers in the field that represent diversity in our society.  Using multiple perspectives from a variety of lenses in history and literature, teachers and parents can help tell more than a single story about any one group of people. Primary source documents are an integral way for students to see and hear the multitude of voices that exist in our world.

 

On a personal level, all children need to be seen, heard, and shown care. By incorporating student’s personal stories into the daily routine, responding to their feedback, and noticing and affirming their non-academic behaviors and attributes, adults can show children that they matter.  It is important that we support young people in their struggles and push them to succeed.

 

In today’s times, it is fundamental to refrain from using terms like “ it’s normal,” “it’s supposed to,” or “it’s better” when referring to people or their attributes.  Everyone deserves the right to be considered, and then, reconsidered.

 

Carrie Althoff

Fifth Grade Teacher

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