Developing Relational Connections to Initiate Conversations and Identify Challenges
In Chapter 6, we explore in greater depth how to take action to enact AI Phase 1: Relational Connections and PIP Phase 1: Initiating Conversations and Identifying Challenges. Advocates and participatory leaders develop philosophical positions and professional orientations in order to effectively practice the art, science, and craft of teaching and learning with others. As educators, we begin by listening deeply, like anthropologists who are entering an unexplored culture and world. This book is arguing that relationships between and among people in human ecosystems, as well as the human relationship with life-giving ecosystems, is central to promoting learning and wellness. Educator advocates well-grounded in their professional practice act to balance protective factors: care and support, high expectations, and meaningful participation and contribution. Such practitioners reﬂect and act upon aspirational ethics and ethical guidelines to steer their day-to-day practice. They are part of educational communities of practice. They have a philosophical core yet remain open to theory, research, and practices that inform and transform their evolving practice. Each professional story has substance, and this chapter shows engaged educator advocates ways we can be open to innovative ideas for guiding our practice. Effective educator advocates try to see the world afresh and remove the scales of habit from their eyes. They listen deeply to the story being shared and work mindfully to not come to snap conclusions, judgments, or quick offers of advice. They understand that systemic inequities must be thoroughly examined from a position of mindful wonderment: Why is this so? There are no “quick ﬁxes” to remedy the
deep divides between the haves and the have nots; there is only a relentless effort to improve learning conditions for ALL students.