In Their Voices (Part 1)

In his pivotal work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire described the importance of the human voice in dialogue:

Human existence cannot be silent, nor can it be nourished by false words, but only by true words, with which men and women transform the world. To exist, humanly, is to name the world, to change it. Once named, the world in its turn reappears to the namers as a problem and requires of them a new naming. Human beings are not built in silence, but in word, in work, in action-reflection.

But while to say the true world–which is work, which is praxis–is to transform the world, saying that word is not the privilege of some few persons, but the right of everyone. Consequently, no one can say a true word alone–nor can she say it for another, in a prescriptive act which robs others of their words. (p. 88)

I wrote in previous blog posts about the importance of partnership and voice in our work around children’s mathematics with preschool teachers. As we partner with teachers and children, we are learning about the ways action and reflection play into teachers’ learning and–as Freire reminds us–how words transform the world. As Elena Aguilar phrases this idea, “Words create worlds.”

In order to further take up this idea, our early math team has invited our preschool teaching colleagues to reflect on their experiences and to share their perspectives. We’re introducing a new series of blog posts titled “In Their Voices.” In these posts, we will feature the voices of our preschool teaching colleagues as they consider mathematics teaching and learning in their classrooms. We hope their words will inspire, encourage, and transform.

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