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What Can We Do At Belzer Middle School To Help Close The Achievement Gap?. Click Here For Inspiration From Kid President.
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What Can We Do At Belzer Middle School To Help Close The Achievement Gap?
“Before we can effectively address classroom management or the gaps in reading and math achievement, we must address the school climate and culture,” he said. “It means that administrators and teachers need to start within themselves.” BarutiKafele (Newark Tech High School)
Other Gaps • BarutiKafelebelieves “other gaps” must be closed before the assessment differences can be addressed. These include: • Attitude gap: “If we don’t believe in these students, who will?” • Relationship gap: Many black students wear a protective mask that says they do not care, but if a teacher can remove the mask and get to know the student, he/she can teach reading and math • Compassion gap: An educator has to care about the student or the mask will not come off • Relevance gap: Students’ interests need to be met. Educators need to let students “star” in the classroom. Baruti Kafele Speaks
Take A Look At Yourself • Ask yourself as educators these questions: • Do I believe in them? • Do I know them? • Do I care about them? • Do I realize who they are? • Do I teach them how to soar?
“If we as educators bring the right beliefs and passion to our work, we can get our black students not only to succeed but to soar.” BarutiKafele (Newark Tech High School) Baruti Kafele Speaks to Educators Video
Take A Look At Yourself • Believe! • The teacher who believes that he/she can effectively influence student achievement, regardless of current or previous student performance will inspire the black student to achieve • These types of teachers can experience greater positive communication with the African American students and the student receives much higher positive reinforcement for their efforts • Verbal praise, approving smiles, encouraging pats on the shoulder
Take A Look At Yourself • Re-educate! • We must make an honest effort to get to know the African American students and their culture • We must encourage ourselves and others to participate in community service programs to help increase our knowledge of our African American student body • Big Brothers Big Sisters • Park League Athletic Events • Honor Bound • Teachers who participate will be able to gain a better understanding of the interests and communities that their African-American students reside in
Take A Look At Yourself • We must approach the students with an attitude of tolerance • Come with the attitude that students are capable of learning • Have the same expectations of all students • All motivated to perform better and reinforces the attitude that we believe all students can learn effectively • Must refrain from accepting unconditionally the negative stereotypical portrait of black students • Lazy, gun toting, drug dealing criminals that have little regard for societal mores
“Once the student comes to the realization that they are capable of learning, they will be motivated to duplicate the experience and break the cycle of ignorance that has labeled them as underachievers in the past.”
Motivate • Encourage extracurricular activities • It is our job to strongly encourage our African American students to participate in more extracurricular activities that are related to academics and leadership not just athletics • Academic Clubs • Yearbook staffs • Debate teams • Student Councils • Safety Patrols
Motivate • Strongly encourage African American students to pursue college or postsecondary training • This can include visitations to colleges or vocational/trade schools, career day programs • Invite guest speakers representing both white and blue collar careers • Exposes African Americans to advanced educational and career opportunities
Environment • Reduce negative peer pressure • This can be done by verbally and materially rewarding academic achievement in the same way that society acknowledges and even extols athletic performance. • When we publicly recognize the successful academic experiences of young African Americans, we simultaneously raise their self-concept, self-esteem, and academic confidence. The Journal of Negro Education
Environment • Emphasize positive characteristics • As teachers, this is a constructive way of demonstrating to parents their role in encouraging, assisting, and monitoring more closely the academic performance of their child • In the classroom, this is essential because it creates a positive classroom environment where the learning community respects each others strengths and creates positive relationships among themselves. The Journal of Negro Education
In The Classroom • We must make it clear that we value our African American students personally and collectively by accepting the differences • Must show students the relevance and applicability of coursework to one’s adult years • Can do this by incorporating family living skills into social studies curricula • Introducing family budgeting concepts into mathematics lessons • Emphasizing business and job-related communication and writing skills instruction into language arts and English classes
In The Classroom • Give adequate instruction when new information is being introduced • Procedural steps that could be used when demonstrating or introducing a new skill to African American Learners: • Give skills for learning • Let them demonstrate the skill(s) • Allow time for practice • Have the students review the skill
In The Classroom Procedural Steps • Give the REASON for why performing the skill is important • If they understand the logical reasoning behind a given skills to be learned, they are more likely to participate willingly in its mastery. • Share what they will be doing and how it will be done • Teacher demonstrate first, then students • This is essential because they need the scaffolding that this extra step brings
In The Classroom Procedural Steps • Allow time for frequent practice of the skill so that the African American students are able to properly complete it • Teacher can circulate and provide feedback while the students are practicing the skill • Students could be in cooperative learning groups or peer partners while learning the skill • Review the procedural steps of the skill • Verbal review reinforces the procedure for the students • Allow other opportunities over the course of the school year to implement the skill
In The Classroom • Devise strategies which illustrate the abstractions, regulations, and verbal discussions being presented • “When the student is provided with some concrete illustration of an abstract concept, the concept will be retained much more easily.” (Hooks, 87) • Students are likely to remember interesting illustrations to reinforce some abstraction or regulation • Recalling the information will strengthen student self-esteem and confidence for future learning Ex. When learning about trees, give out notes where the facts are written inside a tree. This helps give the students a visual representation of the just discussed topic.
How Do We Motivate Students to Read? • Select text that will afford connections • The connections can be personal, social, or cultural • Provide Choice • Identify a menu of texts and give the students the opportunity to give the text a chance. They may be surprised at the power the text holds • Take the text seriously • Encourage students to read for enjoyment, not just for completing chapters or taking tests
How Do We Motivate Students to Read? • Involve the voices of African Americans • They can provide insights into the characteristics and types of texts they find motivating • They can be rich data sources • Select texts that function as roadmap texts • The students searching to answer the questions “Who am I?” and “What can I become?” will benefit from these texts
Reach Out • Essential we provide parents with information on tracking practices, regular classroom placement, remedial classes, difference between honors and advanced placement classes • Parents are the most effective motivators of their children • Help parents understand their role in encouraging their children to learn • Keep open, honest communication that is based on mutual respect
New Ideas • Possible programs to implement: • Advisory Program • Involves teachers and staff members to help students improve behavior, social skills, and academic performance • See next slide for more information or visit this site: http://publications.sreb.org/2012/12V03Newsletter3.pdf (start of pg. 14) • Lunchtime Learning • Students who fall behind in their studies are enrolled in a lunchtime learning program where they receive tutoring. • Every nine weeks, students who have met certain expectations of their teachers, will be rewarded in whichever way the school chooses.
References • Hooks, B. (1989) Talking Back: Thinking Black. Boston: South End Press • http://imet.csus.edu/imet11/portfolio/smiley_k/WebQuest/Neely.pdf • Educating and Motivating African American Males to Succeed. Antoine M. Garibaldi. The Journal of Negro Education , Vol. 61, No. 1 (Winter, 1992), pp. 4-11 • Motivating African-American Secondary School Children. H Taylor. The Populace Now. February, 2010. • Creating a Culture of High Expectations, Student Motivation and Instructional Support in Schools and Classrooms. SREB. February, 2012.