The Lost Art of Conversation

 

One of the many joys in my teaching life is treasuring little conversations with five and six year-olds.

Have you noticed conversation is becoming a lost art these days? I equate it to the lost art of letter writing and snail mail. It’s almost gone, folks! In 2019, what does it mean to have a true conversation without distraction? Think about it. We all are distracted. We have personal devices strapped to us like an extra appendage. We have so much on our mind that we are thinking of the next thing before we finish the first thing and then, wait, what was the second thing we were going to do? Oh, and were you talking to me? What did you just say? Dare I ask you to repeat or should I just smile and hope I remember after I compose that next email? I’ll admit I’m guilty of having someone on speaker phone while reading text messages! (Not proud, but guilty!)

Recently in kindergarten land, I realized I have a HUGE responsibility to do better at having and teaching how to have conversations with my students. True conversations. And through modeling conversation and having conversations, we can all become better people of the world, I think.

Having a conversation, and teaching how to have a conversation to a little one, is not easy. It takes patience. Time. Love. Empathy. Trust.

I try my best to model being as present as possible. I try my best to lower myself to their eye level, listen with intent to their words, and ask questions or respond to them with understanding. This can be tricky with 22 other little people in the immediate vicinity vying for attention or having a meltdown or, like yesterday, seeing how far a piece of snot can stretch out of one’s nose while others watch with admiration!

Having a true conversation with someone also necessitates teaching those other little ones in the immediate vicinity (stretching snot or not!) the importance of  taking turns, refraining from interrupting, and problem solving on their own!

It’s a win-win.

How many adults do we see need this type of intervention too? I can think of one big guy in a red MAGA hat. Just sayin’.

Yesterday, one of my students came up to me and initiated a conversation like this:

“H”: “Dad…I mean, Mr. Garvert….”

Me: “Yes, daughter…I mean… “H”…

(Giggles all around)

“H”: “I have a new unicorn at my house. It lives in my backyard and follows me around everywhere.”

Me: “No way! Tell me more about your unicorn, “H.” How did it come to be a part of your life?”

“H”: “Yeah. Well, that’s all.”

It was a start. It was a five year old conversation. And it was beautiful.

 

 

7 thoughts on “The Lost Art of Conversation

  1. I sometimes wish I was a kindergarten teacher as opposed to 5th grade. They are so happy to share their thoughts.I would love to spend time having a deep conversation with a kindergarten student.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it when kids start a “conversation” with “There was this time . . . ” and off they go. It’s really a monologue. But good for them.
    You are spot on, Keith. Conversation often needs to be prompted and modeled. I often actively teach my 8th-graders just how to greet a person when they walk into a room!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great points- especially “Having a true conversation with someone also necessitates teaching those other little ones in the immediate vicinity (stretching snot or not!) the importance of taking turns, refraining from interrupting, and problem solving on their own!” I also love how your student called you Dad. Your response was even better! When I worked with kindergarteners many moons ago, I was called Mom on a few occasions (usually when they are groggy after nap). Happy slicing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have kinders for science class and we have been working on arguing from evidence- what a treat! What is the most dangerous animal in the world and why do you think so, was our question. The dragon because it breathes fire…..umm but that’s not real….but it’s on the movie….but that’s a cartoon, but so is the Lego movie and legos are real…..
    and it went on for a while:) Gotta give them kudos though- they did argue….maybe their evidence was a little suspect, but it’s a start!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s