Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tumbleweeds Etymology: Provocation

I've always been interested in words. From a very young age I learned to read despite my dyslexia and I've always enjoyed getting lost in reading and writing equally. Words define. That two word sentence amazes me. It doesn't need anything else, because words really do define. They define us. They define our world. They define how we see the world. They define how others see the world... and the way others see the world is often not how we see it. We can argue about the meaning of a word for hours, because for each person the meaning of any given word is a little different. This led me to ponder on the word "provocation". We use it a lot around here and it's something we all value highly in our approach to teaching-but what does it really mean to each of us? The answers I receive varied.

Rio: "Provocation: an invitation to creative growth, where children can express themselves at their own direction."

Melinda: "Something that calls out to be explored and due to our inquisitive nature we answer it without question."

Briana: "A provocation is a story without words, that can be told a few different ways."

Amy: "Materials made available and designed or presented in such a way as to offer the opportunity to scaffold and intended to incite, invoke, and inspire."

Reiko "A provocation is a trigger for the creativity of someone to erupt."

Elizabeth: "An intentional yet open ended arrangement of materials, environment, and/or elements that is meant to inspire creative play and thought."

Each of us, as I predicted, has our own unique take on what a provocation is. They are extremely different, though they do share some of the same elements. The central theme that I see in each of our definitions is imagination, though each of my coworkers and each reader of this post will likely see their own central theme. Rio sees imagination when he writes "creative growth" and "express themselves". For me, imagination comes into play as we begin to explore. Briana's story invites imagination much in the way my exploration does. Amy explicitly mentions imagination when she writes of the intention to "incite, invoke, and inspire". For Reiko, a provocation is a literal trigger for imagination. Elizabeth writes of imagination when she says "creative play and thought". This is what I love so much about words, the amazing ability for words to have so many meaning and such a definite meaning all at once will always leave me speechless.

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