Monday, October 17, 2016

Feedback. Silence(d).

It has always been there.

I feel my foot struggling for purchase in the shale.

I hear the torrent bellowing far below.

I glance up as the crow calls.

It angles its wings and dips behind a copse.

We clasp hands, we move on.


It was there on the space above the fireplace.

It was there on the sandstone wall.

I look at the back of the painting, to find the attached note.

It has always been there.


I listen to the sound of the branch.

It sounds brittle, I move my hand to another.

I remember the sound of the branch which broke.

I remember hitting the ground, the wind crushed from my lungs.

I feel for the solidity of the hold, it brings me reassurance.

I remember sudden imbalance and fear.

"What if I were to...?"

I remember words spoken with care.

I repeat those words.

I repeat those words.

"Breathe deeply, concentrate on the task in hand." 

"That is not a step for me to make."

"This is your path, this is your path." 

I remember gestures of encouragement.

I remember that empathetic silence of anticipation.

A sharp intake of breath.

I feel intuitively that this is my path.

I forget the babble of those who would know better.

"The babble", "the babble", "the babble".

Be silent now.

This is my path.

Judge me if you will.

Footnote on feedback.

I was going to speak of a Twitter conversation concerning feedback, assessment and grades.

Try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to include the "tweet babble".

It seemed an irrelevant footnote to this feedback story.

I came back to this exchange:

On reflection, even "telling" seems superfluous.

We are so much more than words.

I remember moments of grace.

There are no words spoken.

I find another tweet exchange to conclude.

Post Script 

Later on this morning, I fell upon an article entitled:

"4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others."  

It featured a video:

The video was accompanied by the following text:

"When talking about the problem of refugees, we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics. But this suffering concerns real people, who – just like us - have families, loved ones, friends; their own stories, dreams, goals... Only when you sit down opposite a specific person and look into their eyes, you no longer see an anonymous refugee, one of the migrants, and notice the human before you, just like yourself – loving, suffering, dreaming... 

20 years ago, psychologist Arthur Aron discovered that 4 minutes of looking into each other's eyes can bring people closer. Using this discovery, we decided to carry out a simple experiment, during which refugees and Europeans sat opposite each other and looked into each other's eyes. Clearly, it is most important to give each other time to better understand and get to know each other."

I noted the following:

"we use dehumanised language, which reduces human tragedy to numbers and statistics."

Isn't the tragedy of education the use of  "dehumanised language" which reduces people, all our children to "numbers and statistics" ?

I fell upon the words of Clint Smith.

I looked back at what I had written:  

"telling seems superfluous".  

I felt ashamed.

What is education if it is not about enabling others to tell their truth?

"This is your path, this is your path."  
"Your path is not my path."

Life paths may be limited by words given to us even before our birth.

There are those who are born to be heard, there are those who are born and are silenced.

"There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard." 

Arundhati Roy.

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