The Tool: The Talking Stick
Reflection: Native Americans use a talking stick to discuss important matters at their councils. The person who holds the stick holds the floor. It is a reminder to all to listen carefully to the speaker and to respect each other’s viewpoints. It is also a mechanism to ensure that everyone, from a small child to a one-hundred year old elder, has a voice within the circle.
The stick is integral to my teaching, because I am trying to help students create a learning community in each of our classes. The talking stick ensures that we hear each voice in our classroom, even the voices of those who are ordinarily shy and do not volunteer for class discussions. These discussions make our classes special: we listen to and learn from each other.
Copyright© 2011 by Paulette L. Stenzel for text and photo.