When the world is alive: aesthetic experience and radical listening
Embrey, Kerri Nicole
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What do we listen for as educators? Do we value the voices of children? Do we invite colleagues into our work? Are we attentive to materials and environment? If we value reciprocity with these elements, how do we get better at listening to them? The innovative early childhood educators in the municipal schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, choose to place listening at the heart of their pedagogy. Inspired by their work, I use the term radical listening as a metaphor for heightened receptivity to beings, places and materials. I investigate ways that aesthetic experience can effect radical listening. Interpreting pedagogical documentation ·produced with my colleagues and drawing from theory (Dewey, Buber, Vecchi, and Rinaldi) and personal experience, I explore three elements of radical listening: attentiveness, empathy and curiosity. I argue that because aesthetic experience is sensory and affective, vivid and reciprocal, it is enlivening, and creates conditions that heighten radical listening.