Lost in Translation
What languages do you speak? When working with the culture of youth, there are exponential subgroups from which to choose – toddlers, tweens, hyper boys, babies, and the ever-so-scary-and-dramatic, teenage girls. I feel confident many problems between adults and children arise simply because we don’t understand the vernacular of our kids. This problem becomes more pronounced as we get older. Chances are good you are a digital immigrant, whereas today’s children are all digital natives. You get the point.
The inspiration for this post hit me at church today, as we celebrate Pentecost – a day when people began speaking in many different languages, yet all understood. If it were only that easy. I’m thinking the best solution right now is to forget the language and wording of our kids and focus on behavior. Behavior is communication, and boy, do our students have a lot to say right now: “My brain is full! I’m tired! I need a break!” Not only do we understand these messages; I believe most adults can relate.
With only a few days of school left, do your best to tap into the language of youth. For me, the best way to do this is to talk less and listen more. I take the Canterbury Tales approach and spend a great deal of time observing. It amazes me what I learn about my children, my students, my colleagues and myself when I do so. Our children are definitely talking and have a strong need to communicate to us before the summer hits. The question is: Are we listening?