“Rather than ask what is wrong with a child, Kuban suggests inquiring about what happened in his or her life, probing for life-altering events.”
This quote is an excerpt from an article entitled, “How Childhood Trauma Could be Mistaken for ADHD” Conversations about student performance and behavioral issues are not novel topics, yet these discussions are very complex and are always worth revisiting as a reminder that perception is important.
In the classroom, each student comes to the table with different learning styles and life experiences, many of which are shaped by their cultural or socioeconomic background. Even then, these types of categorizations are not black and white, but are gray. Therefore, an educator must take the time to build trustworthy relationships with students and seek to understand why the student acts or thinks the way that he or she does. Stereotypes or other judgments cannot define the capabilities of a student.
I attended a session on poverty and education a few weeks ago at the WRESA Summer Leadership Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. The presenter, Dr. Tammy Pawloski, explained that with any student, especially students in poverty, we do not know how their brain has developed since birth—we don’t know how much persistence or differentiation it will take— in other words, it may not be because the child is not trying. However, environmental influences define the extent to which one utilizes potential. This shows that teachers and others can inspire students to learn.
QTL offers a session about the brain and how it relates to teaching and learning, in particular our instructors talk about the cerebrum and amygdala hijacking. The cerebrum controls higher brain functions such as reasoning. The brain filters information and if this information appears harmful or negative, the amygdala will send the body into panic mode to the point that the cerebrum has no chance to truly reason as it could if the incoming information were positive/pleasurable. Thus, if a teacher has a student that comes from poverty where they may constantly be stressful and dangerous conditions, this student’s brain is wired to protect and not to reason in a way in which the student can learn!
In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the significance of paradigm shifts. Everyone perceives the world, a given moment of time, or an event from their point of view. When certain elements are added to this point of view, it can change the way one sees a situation. For example, as an educational leader, I may be walking around the school and may hear the loud laughter of students from a particular classroom. One perception could be that the teacher does not have control of the classroom and that the students are playing around. Let’s take this same scenario, but as I hear the students’ laughter, another teacher walking down the hall explains to me that the teacher of said classroom has just taught the students a new concept by dressing up and acting out a scene from a play. This is a paradigm shift because I now see the situation in a different light.
At the core of this all is trust and perspective. Before a teacher can build a relationship with students, there must be a sense of trust. This information can also be applied to the interactions and relationships between instructional leader and teacher. Pam Edwards, QTL Director of Leadership Development, explains to instructional leaders the necessity for trust, communication, building relationships, and accentuating the positive in order to effectively coach teachers to holistically improve.
-Adrian Mack, Director of Partnership Development
If you’re looking for a collaborative project with a visual end product, here’s another new Web 2.0 resource to try. NOTA lets users create an interactive digital poster that includes a variety of resources, including text, photos, clipart, maps, links, and more. There’s even a message board function, though it seems to be in beta mode.
Washington, DC instructional technology specialist Mark Brumley posted a very nice three-minute tutorial on the HP Teacher Exchange, and the user interface is really pretty self-explanatory once you understand the basics that he covers. You have to create a user account, but are up and running after you complete that quick process. I was able to create the following QTL Poster as a test in just about 15 minutes.
If you have an appropriate project, I highly recommend giving NOTA a try.
A participant in one of our recent ExplorNet workshops on Multimedia and Webpage Design gave us a pleasant surprise when she told us she had a prior history with our programs. Gail Thompson teaches Business Education now at Raleigh’s Athens Drive High School. But back in 2006 and 2007, she was a teacher at Dillard Middle School in Wayne County when the school implemented the QTL Foundations program. She told us she still uses the concepts she learned in QTL almost every day. Continue reading
(RALEIGH) – What good is technology if it sits on a shelf? That’s been a persistent question for administrators juggling budgets and deciding whether interactive tools are worth the price. Amid budget cuts and belt tightening, no one wants to spend precious dollars on tools that aren’t effective. But instructional leaders are desperately looking for solutions that help teachers manage and effectively teacher larger and ever more diverse groups of students. Student response systems, or clickers, are one such tool, when they’re used purposefully to increase engagement and assess student understanding. Continue reading
One-on-one teacher coaching plays an ever larger role in our efforts at The Centers for Quality Teaching and Learning. The reflective approach our expert coaches use has a two-fold benefit: it trains teachers to examine and improve their own classroom practices, and does so without putting them on the defensive. Continue reading
Looking for ways to engage your students and motivate them to be self-directed learners? Here is the second of five installments of surefire tips! This time we focus on Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences and find out “WHAT KIND OF ‘SMART’ ARE YOU (AND YOUR STUDENTS)?
WHY DO WE CARE ABOUT HOW KIDS PREFER TO LEARN?
Dr. Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences has strong implications for how our students will develop into adults, get jobs and support families. Many adults find themselves in jobs that do not make optimal use of their most highly developed intelligences – for example, the highly bodily-kinesthetic individual who is stuck in a linguistic or logical desk job when he or she would be much happier in a job where they could move around, such as a recreational leader, a forest ranger, or physical therapist.
The theory of multiple intelligences gives adults a whole new way to look at their lives, examining potentials that they left behind in their childhood (such as a love for art or drama) but now have the opportunity to develop through courses, hobbies, or other programs of self-development. Continue reading
QTL Senior Instructional Specialist
Recently a colleague gave me a piece of paper with what looks like a paper doll with a backpack on it. This paper doll student is covered with little text boxes containing attributes like ‘literate consumer of media’, ‘multi-lingual’, ‘capable technology user’, ‘critical thinker’, ‘strong team contributor’, and on and on…17 in all. She explained that the image represented the characteristics a present-day kindergartner should possess by the time they graduate from high school. Hmmm…interesting.
I immediately asked myself, “Do I possess these 17 characteristics?” Continue reading