Reviving Humanity: Grasping Within and Beyond Our Reach

Alison Cook-Sather, Olivia Porte


There are numerous assumptions embedded in the notion of being ‘hard to reach’. Typically, it’s a phrase used about students. Thus, it carries with it the implication that there is someone in a position other than that of student who is located somewhere central and who is ‘reaching out’ to the student or students. In this opinion piece, we push back on this “single story” (Adichie, 2009) of what is typically meant by ‘hard to reach’. Specifically, we want to argue for reaching across, rather than out; for the reachers to be students as well as staff; and for the context in which the reaching happens to be understood as more open and fluid, a space across which students and staff reach again and again rather than a point or place out from which staff reach towards students in a single direction. We argue for grasping—understanding, taking ahold of—what those within the spaces created by student-staff partnerships offer and receive from one another as perpetually negotiated, re-given and re-taken repeatedly, each time with different understanding, but always with the intent of holding.

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