At Wardlaw + Hartridge, we make a deliberate effort to listen carefully to our international families because we want to make sure they feel accepted, understood, and valued as a coherent and well-integrated part of a larger school community.
A Guest Blog by Dr. Olga Pagieva, ELL Instructor
In the world of words, sometimes confusing and often unfamiliar to the untrained ear, it is a close and thoughtful collaboration with the international students and their families that provides those meaningful human connections in which we master the art of verbal communication from speaking because we have to saysomething to speaking when we havesomething to say. (“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”.– Epictetus)
At Wardlaw + Hartridge, we make a deliberate effort to listen carefully to our international families because we want to make sure they feel accepted, understood, and valued as a coherent and well-integrated part of a larger school community. Sometimes, we even hear what isn’t said. Look at the picture above, for example. Two current parents, who met and became friends on campus, are posing in front of the painting that was given to the school as a gift by one of them. What isn’t said is surely universally understood and cross-culturally affluent: what an eloquent expression of humble gratitude and quiet happiness.
Thankful and thorough communication has been a dominant component in the school recipe for collaboration with the international community, but how can one measure it? Take a listen to two of our graduating students (CLICK ON PHOTO TO WATCH VIDEO): Cathy Bi, a Chinese international student, and Tiffany Le, a Vietnamese-American heritage student, sharing their thoughts and experiences. Both girls have been at Wardlaw + Hartridge since their freshman year.
It sounds like the values of communication and collaboration – from the student perspective - are in exchanging ideas, no matter how different they are, and sometimes, being pushed from those “comfort zones” that limit our full participation in what is known as “school life.” To adequately measure these values, why not be reminded that any “great communication begins with connection. What makes us different from one another is so much less important that what makes us alike – we all long for acceptance and significance. When we recognize those needs in ourselves, we can better understand them in others, and that’s when we can set aside our judgments and just hear.” (Oprah Winfrey)
Let the culture of communication and collaboration prosper at Wardlaw + Hartridge. Let’s never stop listening to one another, so that we always hear each other.