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On the Ground - Making a Space for Truth

Njoli Brown
Njoli Brown

I just finished reading an article about the experience of a homeless teen revealing his predicament to his teacher and his class. In the context of a project called StoryCorpU, this young man decided to take the huge leap to sharing his situation in a scenario in which he had previously been ridiculed and, at times, and even bullied.

What spoke to me most profoundly was the idea that a difficult situation can be transformed with real intention and active strategizing. This program developed by NPR, the teacher's willingness and action in working past her own discomfort, and a classroom forum where honesty is rewarded. Now, there's nothing to say that this all works out with a fairy tale ending. But the real telling moment is this quote from teacher Celeste Davis-Carr:

"I want to see you happy... Just your smile is the best moments of you."

The idea isn't that we have all the answers or that we will all magically create the projects that draw out our communal truths in one big dam-breaking moment. But, we can make a practice of recognizing teachable moments and diligently searching out initiatives and activities that will tap into undiscovered potential. Remembering this, I think, makes us all better educators and allows our young people opportunities to be their best selves.

Check out the article and listen to the student recording:
A Homeless Teen Finds Solace In A Teacher And A Recording 

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Njoli Brown

By Njoli Brown

Njoli Brown is a comprehensive education consultant. He uses art, athletics, literature, interactive activities and pointed processing to create programs which engage students and educators from varied backgrounds in expansive learning processes. Through an array of both domestic and international work, Njoli has been able to accrue experience with numerous teaching methodologies and so, creates environments which feel collaborative, fun and practical. As a writer of curriculum for programs ranging from conflict transformation to young men's mentorship, classroom management to effective teambuilding, Njoli has a firm grasp on capacity building for facilitators, teachers, managers and project/program coordinators. He continues to write about art, education, travel and equity on his public forum: http://www.papernopaper.com