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Dedicated to Teachers

PLC Series: Listening as a Teaching Move

Welcome to the Heinemann PD Professional Learning Community Series! This month, we learn how to open discussions about sensitive topics, and hopefully help bend our world toward social justice.​

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“As educators, we are on the front lines the morning after a tragedy shakes the world. It ripples into our classrooms from homes, the hallways, and handheld devices."     -Sara Ahmed                                                                                         

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Far too often, educators walk through school doors with not only the weight of recent tragedy but the pressure of decision making regarding class conversations around the event. What do we say? How should we say it? What will the kids say?

Perhaps, suggests Sara Ahmed, we enter with a different plan. Listening.

In her recent Heinemann PD Catalog—Journal piece, available for download below, she describes how listening is a key teaching move, one that “opens a compelling window” into the meaning-making process of your students.


This article is one that can initiate important conversations amongst staff, parents, guardians, and certainly school communities as whole. What is your school community’s practice when dealing with sensitive story lines? Let’s have the conversations now so when the time comes, we are prepared with strategies—to listen.

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Looking for more PD on this topic?

Off-site:  Do you wonder about the best ways to help your students become thoughtful, curious, lifelong learners? Attend this Multi-Day Institute in New Orleans, LA., January 13-16, 2017:  “Inquiry, Literacy and Life: Cultivating Student Engagement, Curiosity, and Collaboration” hosted by Harvey “Smokey” Daniels, and featuring Nancy Steineke, Donalyn Miller, Kristin Ziemke, and Sara Ahmed. Get more information here!

On-Site: Take a look at customized seminars, consulting authors, and speakers, and residencies available to you by clicking here.

Online: Heinemann’s Digital Library features a Social Justice category full of content to support your thinking and conversations, in addition to numerous complete professional titles. Learn more here!

***Join the November book study (in the Heinemann PD Teaching & Learning Facebook group) centered on Smokey Daniels’ and Sara Ahmed’s book Upstanders.***

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Sara Ahmed (@SaraKAhmed) has taught in urban, suburban, public, independent, and international schools. Sara is coauthor with Harvey "Smokey" Daniels of Upstanders: How to Engage Middle School Hearts and Minds with Inquiry. Sara's classrooms are designed to help her young adolescent students to consider their own identities and to take action in the world in socially responsible ways. She is a long time member of the teacher leadership team for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization devoted to developing critical thinking and empathy for others. Sara will be spending the 2016-2017 school year at NIST International School in Bangkok, Thailand as a Pre K-6 Literacy Coach.



Topics: Heinemann, PLC Series, Harvey "Smokey" Daniels, High School, Inquiry, Middle School, Professional Development, Sara Ahmed, Social Justice, Upstanders, NOLA Multi-Day Institute, Sara K. Ahmed

Date Published: 10/31/16

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