Courageous Conversations

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Our nation is currently in a climate of difficult discussions about injustice, educational and economic inequity, diversity, and nationalism in our country. Avoiding controversies in books and discussions about books can lead to a culture of unquestioned respect for authority, compliance, and ignorance. There is no better way to access critical thinking, deepening meaning, and expanding our worldview than embracing and exploring the rich world of languages and literacies. But children have a humane and innate sense of justice and can show us where to go with conversations about important issues. After all, children of all ages are not immune from society’s hard conversations, overhearing opinions of adults, being bombarded from media blasting from every corner of their daily environment, and partaking online social networks. And children regularly make frank commentaries that can awe their adult listeners, causing their adult listeners to stop and remark to themselves or to others around them, “out of the mouths of babes.” Unfortunately, in literacy instruction, many children dutifully listen or read and answer the comprehension questions they hope the adults want to hear. Too often, homes and schools are designed to prepare children to take their places in the social order without questioning and challenging that order. Restorative literacies can bring back curiosity and wonder about our world and enable us to hear our future generation’s voices. 

Let’s explore together.