"No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship" - says .. simply lying to ourselves that we can actually make learning happen. When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it's the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. Photo: Jeff A. Johnstone, US Navy In our work with teachers around the challenges and rewards of working with students, we frequently explore.
Dutch linguist Martin Joos identified these five levels of formality of language. Adapted from A Framework for Understanding Poverty p. Payne,Highlands, TX: Copyright by aha! Adapted with permission Have students practice translating phrases from casual into formal register. For example, a student I worked with was sent to the office because he had told his teacher that something "sucked.
Assess Each Student's Resources One way to define poverty and wealth is in terms of the degree to which we have access to the following eight resources.
Nine Powerful Practices - Educational Leadership
Money to purchase goods and services. The ability to control emotional responses, particularly to negative situations, without engaging in self-destructive behavior.
This internal resource shows itself through stamina, perseverance, and good decision making. The mental abilities and acquired skills such as reading, writing, and computing needed for daily life. Some belief in a divine purpose and guidance. Good physical health and mobility. Friends, family, and resource people who are available in times of need. Relationships and role models: Frequent contact with adults who are appropriate role models, who nurture the child, and who do not engage in self-destructive behavior.
Knowledge of unspoken rules: Knowing the unspoken norms and habits of a group. School success, as it's currently defined, requires a huge amount of resources that schools don't necessarily provide.
Nine Powerful Practices
Teachers need to be aware that many students identified as "at risk" lack these outside resources. Interventions that require students to draw on resources they do not possess will not work.
For example, many students in households characterized by generational poverty have a very limited support system. If such a student isn't completing homework, telling that student's parent, who is working two jobs, to make sure the student does his or her homework isn't going to be effective.
But if the school provides a time and place before school, after school, or during lunch for the student to complete homework, that intervention will be more successful. Teach the Hidden Rules of School People need to know different rules and behaviors to survive in different environments.
The actions and attitudes that help a student learn and thrive in a low-income community often clash with those that help one get ahead in school. For example, when adult family members have little formal schooling, the student's environment may be unpredictable. Having reactive skills might be particularly important.
These skills may be counterproductive in school, where a learner must plan ahead, rather than react, to succeed. If laughter is often used to lessen conflict in a student's community, that student may laugh when being disciplined.
Such behavior is considered disrespectful in school and may anger teachers and administrators. Educators often tell students that the rules they come to school with aren't valuable anywhere.
That isn't true, and students know it. For example, to survive in many high-poverty neighborhoods, young people have to be able to fight physically if challenged—or have someone fight for them. But if you fight in school, you're usually told to leave. The simple way to deal with this clash of norms is to teach students two sets of rules.
I frequently say to students, You don't use the same set of rules in basketball that you use in football. We sat on porches. We went into children's backyards. We dropped by corner stores. All along the way, we shared how much we care about the children we teach. We shared the vision of success we hold for all our children.
The response to that simple gesture was both resounding and gratifying. Without exception, children and parents were excited that we took time to come and visit them in their neighborhood. We were the talk of the town! Every day, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to teach at Tarrant Elementary. Our principal and teachers are committed to building relationships.
That commitment -- shown in Kristy's phone conversation and our principal's field trip into our school's neighborhood -- pervades our school, a Title I school where 99 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. And every bit of success I owe as a kindergarten teacher here -- a kindergarten teacher with 30 years of teaching experience -- can be attributed to the fact that I care very deeply about building relationships with my students and with their parents, my colleagues, and our community.
For my colleagues and I, when it comes to developing successful students, three key words stand out: It is all about relationships. Barber is a dear friend and mentor.
Above all else, Dr. Barber is an advocate for children and education. He has coined a phrase that guides me every day as I teach. A colleague said to me one time, "They don't pay me to like the kids.
They pay me to teach a lesson. The kids should learn it. I should teach it. They should learn it. Some people think that you can either have it in you to build a relationship or you don't. I think Stephen Covey had the right idea. He said you ought to just throw in a few simple things, like seeking first to understand as opposed to being understood, simple things like apologizing. You ever thought about that? Tell a kid you're sorry, they're in shock. Can we stand to have more relationships?
Will you like all your children?