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for me to see the patterns that are involved in my way as well as patterns
behind the other person’s practice.
Isaura’s first book, written with Robert M. Corso (Barrera and Corso
2003), provides some additional insight into the concept of third space.
A third space perspective does not resolve the issue; rather, it changes the
arena within which that situation is addressed by increasing the probability
of respectful, responsive, and reciprocal interactions. To get to third space,
I have to do three things:
1. Believe that it exists.
2. Accept that there are multiple realities.
3. Dialogue with the person instead of arguing.
I use the well-known advice of thirteenth-century Persian poet Rumi to
move my thinking from argument to dialogue. He said, “Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” If I go out
to the field with the person whose practice I’m questioning and we talk about
our views, we may be able to see a reality that is bigger than both of us. We
may even be able to move from my way and your way to our way as we figure
out what to do about our differences in this situation with this child in this
program. If we do all that, we’ve reached third space.
Sue B. Bredekamp and Carol C. Copple, in the revised edition of Devel-
opmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, explained third
space thinking without calling it that. They said, “Some critical reactions to
NAEYC’s (1987) position statement on developmentally appropriate practice
reflect a recurring tendency in the American discourse on education: the
polarizing into either/or choices of many questions that are more fruitfully
seen as both/and” (Bredekamp and Copple 1997, 23). They are writing about
dualistic thinking, where contrasting ideas are seen as dichotomous. If it’s
right, it can’t be wrong; if it’s bad, it can’t be good. If it’s blue, it can’t be
yellow. When you move into holistic thinking from dualistic thinking, you
don’t separate things into opposites. You can also see that when blue and yel-
low come together they make green! Blue keeps its blueness and yellow keeps
its yellowness, and together they make something new altogether. Green is
an example of third space.
Stephen R. Covey writes about what he calls synergy in the foreword to a
book called Crucial Conversations, which has excellent strategies for getting
to third space. According to Covey (2002, x), synergy makes for “a better
decision, better relationship, better decision-making process, and increased
commitment to implement decisions made.” He talks about how synergy
transforms people and relationships and creates an entirely new level of
4 C H A P T E R
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