Wit & Wisdom

Game Changers & Tales of Triumph and Woe

Conversations that happen in the middle

CJ Westerberg, January 10, 2013 4:57 PM


A TDR Classic. Originally published The Daily Riff September 2011

"We (parents and teachers) just carry on and hope
our polite conversations won't get in the way. 
But, in fact, they do."

Lorna Constantini

-by C.J. Westerberg

In the Why Families Matter video below, the talk is about "conversations in the middle" between parents and teachers - offering refreshing insight by Lorna Constantini.
This is the essence:  there are often two different conversations going on at the same time about the same topic - one from parents and one from teachers -  using the continuing debate about homework as an excellent illustration. Using "conversations in the middle" as the framework, I'd add a third, which may be the student point-of-view (POV), as well, especially as a student matures. 

We go on with our polite conversations where the real issues are buried.   By no means is Constantini suggesting we not be polite.  "Real" and "polite" can obviously co-exist - so why
do we sometimes get stuck?   It's the type of conversation that could alleviate many misunderstandings and stress for everyone involved - plus these types of conversations
seem not only more natural, but more productive.

At the 2:40 mark, she also points to research how at-home family involvement/parental engagement has proven to have more impact when compared to in-school involvement
(school functions).

"We (parents and teachers) really don't get into a conversation
of what the value of . . ."   

Not everything will end up being a kumbaya moment but we need more conversations in
the middle.  We certainly see what the lack of them have produced on the national scene in politics - but that's another riff.

- CJ Westerberg

We discovered Lorna Constantini through a comment posted on, "Schools and Parents: A Kabuki Dance?"  You can find her on her blog: Our School.ca - Connecting parents and schools using technology.  There is also a link to a Family Engagement on-line booklet
for schools on the home page - do check it out.

Related posts The Daily Riff:

This is your child's brain on homework.  Or, is it?

How the Flipped Classroom is Radically Transforming Learning :How Flipping Changes the Way We Talk to Parents

The Flipped Class = Flipped Homework



  • Thank you for YOUR work, Lorna.

    Sometimes when we do things like this, we wonder if they make a difference. They do.

  • CJ

    Thanks for sharing my unplugd story "why Families Matter". I am thrilled to see the work from our unconference being passed on. My group wrote Chapter One "The Change We Need" and "Why Families Matter" was the lead into a document that features educators from across Canada who pooled their knowledge, vision and dreams to write a blueprint for change in education.

    Having you feature the conversations in the middle gives me hope that more people will change the way they relate to each other. Good things for students happen when we are all on the same page.

    Thank you Thank you Thank you. :)

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