According to Merriam Webster, agenda can be defined as either a list or outline of things to be considered or an underlying ideological plan. In my case, I am utilizing definition #2 (underlying ideological plan). I am currently in a book club. We are reading We Are All Explorers. In the second chapter, the authors talk about how in a classroom setting teachers and students both have an agenda. There is an example provided of a teacher interacting with a preschooler. The teacher is doing what teachers typically do, ask questions to try to elicit responses that she wants to hear to showcase a child's understanding. In this case, the conversation is about shells and what is the same about them, does the child notice the holes, what color did so and so paint something, etc. All of this came from the teacher. The child was more intent on talking about the goo goo monster and how when you blow into the shell, a sound comes out! In this conversation, each party involved had her own agenda.
Upon reflecting on this chapter, I started to wonder what my agenda is in the classroom (do I even have one?) and whether or not I am as adamant as the teacher in the example to stick with my own agenda (whatever that may be) and not just engage in friendly conversation with my students.
As I step outside of myself and think about conversations I have had with my students (who are Kindergarteners if you did not already know that) and I have to say that for the most part, I don't have an agenda with them. I don't have a particular goal in mind when talking to my students other than getting to know them better. If anything, the questions I ask are often to seek out more information and get a clearer mental picture. I often find that children aren't just listened to anymore. Parents are so busy with work, texting, facebook, and who knows what else that there just isn't time to listen to a child go on and on about anything. If my students had their way, they'd talk both my ears off! Unfortunately, they can't just talk to me. We're busy learning poetry, learning how to read, learning how to be nice, respectful human beings, and how to not use our hands to solve problems.