Friday, March 6, 2015

At Rugby School I feel we are directing our efforts toward important areas that will have great impact on children living in poverty and from homes where parents aren’t engaged in their child’s education.
Research shows that standards based instruction makes a difference on the performance scores of children.  We are just starting to see this at work in our lowest levels, but I think we all can see that it is effective when we visit with our K-1 Teachers or observe what they are doing.  It can make a big difference for parents as instruction becomes consistent across time and across grades.
I agreed with the author when he stated that one way we can help students in the classroom is by re-tooling their operating systems.  This is similar to the studies we have recently been looking at in our PLC where we discussed executive skills in children and how deficiencies in these areas affect overall learning.  Jensen points out that students need to develop skills in attention, processing speed  and memory, to which I might also add goal directed persistence,  task initiation and organization.  We need to do a good job of teaching these executive skills at the Tier 1 and Tier 2 level.
I enjoyed reading Eric Jensen’s comments about increasing hopefulness in students.  As teachers we have always known our  beliefs and assumptions make a big difference in the lives of our students.  For some students there is literally no one that expresses confidence in their abilities or pictures them having a hopeful and bright future. Jensen writes about the importance of developing a culture of hopefulness and learned optimism for all students.  He states that we want to avoid the self-fulfilling prophecy,  “Expect less, get less, the child loses hope, the child fails.”
A teacher can help break these cycles by asking students what their hopes are and then reinforcing those hopes.  They can also talk to students specifically about how and why they can succeed, and sharing stories of hope with them about individuals with similar struggles and backgrounds. There is always a way to be a purveyor of Hope!!