A summary of teaching with poverty in mind handout 2

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  • 1. 23 A Summary of Teaching with Poverty in Mind Handout 2 Ask teachers in unsuccessful schools why low-SES kids usually don’t succeed, and they will often blame students’ poverty, decry the violence in the neighborhood, explain away students’ lack of motivation, or point fingers at parents’ neglect. Their reasons, in other words, amount to stories and excuses. 80 Because the brain is designed to adapt from experience, it can also change for the better. In other words, poor children can experience emotional, social, and academic success. Although many factors affect academic success, certain key ones are especially effective in turning around students raised in poverty. 2 Strategies for working memory: 1) www.cogmed.com; 2) call-response songs; 3) games (Simon Says, cards, etc.); 4) clapping repeats; 5) repeat the directions; 6) partner/group activities with number add-ons; 7) repeat prior effort, then add a sound, word, or sentence; 8) partner, buddy, or teacher speaks, student writes the content (43 in handout) Behavior geneticists commonly claim that DNA accounts for 30-50% of our behaviors…an estimate that leaves 50-70% explained by environment. 13 Epigenetics—the study of heritable changes in gene function that occur without a change in primary DNA sequence—blurs the line between nature and nurture. 13-14 The “old” way of thinking believed it was 50% genes and 50% environment. The “new” thinking is that 30-40% is genes, 30% is gene/environment interaction, and 30-40% environment. (30 in handout)
  • 2. 24 Teachers don’t need to come from their students’ cultures to be able to teach them, but empathy and cultural knowledge are essential. 11 Understand that children raised in poverty are more likely to display • Acting out behaviors • Impatience and impulsivity • Gaps in politeness and social graces • A more limited range of behavioral responses • Inappropriate emotional responses • Less empathy for others’ misfortunes 19
  • 3. 25 Many schools rely on power and authority rather than positive relationships to get students to behave or perform well. The problem with the coercion approach is simple: the weaker the relationships, the more resources and authority you need to get the same job done. 93 Avoid criticizing student impulsivity and “me first” behaviors. Ask yourself whether the discipline process is positive and therefore increases the chances for better future behavior, or whether it’s punitive and therefore reduces the chances for better future behavior. 30
  • 4. 26 Avoid labeling, demeaning, or blaming students. It is much easier to condemn a student’s behavior and demand that he change than it is to help the student change it. Rather than telling kids to be respectful, demonstrate appropriate emotional responses and the circumstances in which to use them, and allow students to practice applying them. 19 Are emotions in our DNA, hardwired and present at birth? The emotions of anger, fear, disgust, surprise, joy, and sadness are hardwired. All others including humility, forgiveness, empathy, optimism, compassion, sympathy, patience, shame, cooperation, and gratitude are taught. The emotional brain can be represented by a keyboard on which children from poverty use fewer keys than well-off children. The emotional brain can be represented by a keyboard on which children from poverty use fewer keys than well-off children. Many kids don’t have the full emotional range to respond well unless they are taught how to respond in class.
  • 5. 27 The emotional brain can be represented by a keyboard on which children from poverty use fewer keys than well-off children. Avoid such directives such as “Do this right now!” Instead, maintain expectations while offering choice and soliciting input (e.g. “Would you rather do your rough draft now or gather some more ideas first?”) 21 Giving children choices is one way to be assertive while empowering children at the same time. Any time you give an assertive command, you could just as well have given two choices. (from Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey) Those in poverty typically have dysregulated stress response systems. You must give kids appropriately increasing amounts of control over their lives at school and teach coping skills. (18 in handout) To a child, his/her issue (moving, experiencing divorce, new school, new year, new grade, pet died, left stuffed animal behind), to an adult, this seems small, but to a child, it is similar to and adult losing his job or a big contract. All of these things happen to a child, we went them to ___. The child feels like, “Give me a break.” and you set up a power struggle. (from Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey)
  • 6. 28 5 steps in delivering 2 positive choices: 1) Breathe deeply. Think about what you want the child to do. Make a conscious decision. 2) Tell the child, “You have a choice.” in an upbeat tone. Your positive attitude will lighten up the situation, especially if the child seems resistant. It will also help the child in perceiving the options as choices. For older children you might say, “Seems to me you have a couple of choices.” 3) State the 2 choices you have created to achieve your goal. Say, “You may ___ or you may ___.” For older children you might say, “Feel free to ___ or ___. What would be better for you?” 4) Complete the process by asking the child for a commitment. You might say, “What is your choice?” If the child hesitates, you may want to repeat Step 3. 5) Notice the child’s choice. (Give it language.) Do this by saying, “You chose ___.” in a very encouraging voice with loving intent. Be sure to make this final comment. It will bring crucial awareness to the child about his choice. Remember, most people make their choices unconsciously and end up feeling controlled by life. Children who are aware of their choices will not only feel less controlled, but will have greater self-control. Practice. 5 steps to prevent a power struggle: 1) Give a clear command such as “It’s time to ___.” If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically such as “You ___.” 2) Offer 2 choices. (See section on choices.) 3) Offer empathy such as “It’s hard to ___. You wish you could ___. It is difficult to ___.” If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically. 4) Look for signs of the child’s body relaxing then repeat Step 2. If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically such as “You ___.” If s/he does not, go to Step 5. 5) Use force, stay calm, and emphatically add words/language to their feelings in order to take the power out of the struggle. (This gives them understanding and thus give them something to be in charge of (i.e. their point of view). Say, “You are very angry with me. This is hard for you. Could it be that you want to show me that I can’t make you ___? If so, you are right. I can’t make you. The decision is yours.” If s/he complies, praise or comment specifically such as “You ___.” If s/he does not comply, say, “You are right. I can’t make you. You are in charge of your own choices.” and turn and walk away. Do not turn and look back.
  • 7. 29 Helping children who resist the given structure: Some children will use the structured choice you offer as an opportunity for a power struggle. Such children, when offered two options, consistently create a third option in order to maintain control of the situation. Asked to pick A or B, s/he chooses C. You might say, “Megan, you have a choice. You may ___ or ___.” At this point the child chooses option C and simply bolts off. To help a child who resists structured choices for developmental reasons, do the following: • Realize that if you allow yourself to be dragged into a power struggle, you have become part of the problem, not the solution. To avoid this trip, take a deep breath, become conscious of your thoughts, and focus on what you want the child to do. ONCE YOU SLIP INTO FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU DON’T WANT (STOP CRYING, STOP TALKING, STOP HITTING, ETC.) YOU WILL BE IN THE POWER STRUGGLE. • Once you are in control of yourself, recognize that the child will or will not choose to operate within your framework. Coercion is the problem, not the answer. Consciously choose to rely on the power of free will. You both have a choice of how to behave. You can control your actions but not others. • Use the parroting technique. This involves repeating the options you have presented to the child in a calm, assertive voice. One of three things is likely to occur: a) S/he may comply. He may do so begrudgingly. b) S/he might escalate in a verbal assault on you and might resort to physical aggression (like hitting). c) S/he might attempt to escape the situation through a temper tantrum or by running away. If s/he escalates in his/her opposition, you can disengage from the fight by saying, “You are right. I can’t make you ___. I hope you choose to be a part of this classroom.” Turn and walk away. When the child recovers, have him ___ (whatever it was you were wanting him/her to do) and celebrate his accomplishments with him. Recognize how much will power and energy the child harnesses to transform his negative response into a positive one and engage in the ___ process. Celebrate it.
  • 8. 30 Healing from the power struggle: 1) Forgive yourself. 2) Talk with the child. “This morning/afternoon/yesterday when it was ___ time, I screamed at you/lost my temper, I did these things because I lost control, not because you are bad. Sometimes I think you want to be the boss of the classroom. I am your teacher, and I am in charge. I am going to work on being a better boss. ___ seems to be a problem for you. What would help you ___ without such a fight? Can you think of anything that would be helpful so you feel safer?” 3) Create structure. “I made this chart (with pictures) for you. Here is your routine.” Give respect to students first, even when they seem least to deserve it. 21 Avoid labeling, demeaning, or blaming students. It is much easier to condemn a student’s behavior and demand that he change than it is to help the student change it. Rather than telling kids to be respectful, demonstrate appropriate emotional responses and the circumstances in which to use them, and allow students to practice applying them. 19
  • 9. 31 Teachers who criticize, hold negative attitudes and use sarcasm as classroom discipline will activate the stress areas of the student’s brain. This activation alters the student’s ability to think and learn. (12 in handout)
  • 10. 32 Once the amygdala is activated, it takes at least 30-90 minutes to calm down and activate PFC. Threats, insults, put-downs, and sarcasm activate the amygdala. (117 in handout) Call on someone not paying attention. What happens? Fight, flight, or freeze occurs. Hope changes brain chemistry. 112 Hope is positive expectancy. It increases mood and persistence, which increases results. Even if you do everything else right, if the student doesn’t think you believe in him/her, you’ll lose ground. (51 in handout) Provide hope and support. Any student who feels “less-than” cognitively is likely not only to struggle academically, but also to be susceptible to such secondary issues as acting out, getting bullied or becoming a bully, having lower self-esteem, or having feelings of depression or helplessness. Ensure that teachers build supportive relationships, provide positive guidance, foster hope and optimism, and take time for affirmation and celebration. 41 One possible and dire consequence of unrelenting hopelessness is learned helplessness, which is not a genetic phenomenon but an adaptive response to life conditions. Because of these persistent feelings of inadequacy, individuals will remain passive even when they actually have the power to change their circumstances. Hope and learned optimism are crucial factors in turning low-SES students into high achievers. 113
  • 11. 33 Research suggests that hopefulness can be taught…an engaged life—the value of participation, not passivity; and a meaningful life—how to focus on the things that matter most and get outside yourself with service work and volunteering. Other strategies that build hope include: • Using daily affirmations • Asking to hear students’ hopes and offering reinforcement of those hopes • Telling students specifically why they can succeed • Providing needed academic resources (e.g. paper and pencils, computer time) • Helping students to set goals and build goal-getting skills • Telling true stories of hope about people to whom students can relate • Offering help, encouragement, and caring as often as needed • Teaching students life skills in small daily chunks • Avoiding complaining about students’ deficits (if they don’t have it, teach it) • Treating all the kids in your class as potentially gifted • Building academic, emotional, and social assets in students. 116 • Say things like “when you graduate…” not “if you graduate” or “with an extra hour of effort, you should be able to finish that up.” Teaching Hopefulness •Treat all kids in your class as potentially gifted •Use daily affirmations •Ask to hear students' hopes and offer reinforcement of those hopes •Say things like, "When you graduate..." or "With an extra hour of effort, you should be able to finish that up." •Tell students specifically why they can succeed •Help students to set goals •Tell true stories of hope about people to whom students can relate •Avoiding complaining about students' deficits (if they don't have it, teach it)
  • 12. 34 Stop telling kids to "pay attention" and start teaching them how to do it. Stop telling kids to “pay attention” and start teaching them how to do it. (Ask: What does paying attention look like?) (CHAMPS) (44 in handout) Foundations/CHAMPS
  • 13. 35 Classroom Safety Thank you. Love the effort! Thanks for jumping in.. Good enthusiasm! Let's grab some more. Constantly “nudge” students. For example, • “Write this down, even if it’s the only thing you write down all day.” • “If your team has not yet collected all the evals, turn to your teammates and say, ‘Let’s do it!’” or say, “Git-r-rdone.” • “Look on your neighbor’s paper. If the assignment is written correctly, say, ‘Great job!’ if not, wake them up.” • “Take in a slow, deep breath…hold it…and if you are ready to…let it out.” (121 in handout) Other examples? Your turn…
  • 14. 36 Attention E-X-T-E-N-D-E-R-S: • Prediction because it fuels curiosity and engagement (i.e. • Language arts: predict how a character will act, what will happen next, outcome, etc. • Science: predict the results of an experiment, vote on which object is lighter or faster or decomposes quicker, etc. • Geography: predict which country is further than another from your home town • Math: predict the best strategy, the likely outcome, odd/even, high/low, etc. • Current event tie-in (could be from the neighborhood, sports, show biz, or global)...(i.e. what I try and do with pop-culture) • Advertising “hooks” mean that you create a quick promotion or sales pitch for upcoming content (i.e. use a YouTube video to spark interest, Mike and Mike do this well) • Objects and props can be used as either a tie-in for the lesson or by asking students to make the link (i.e. the glass of water and the amygadala) Accommodations are NOT a special gift, a bonus, or an unfair advantage. What they do is “level the playing field.” They create equal and fair access. You would never be critical of a student who needs to sit in a wheelchair in your class. But how do you feel about students who have a disability like a stress disorder or ADHD? How about students who lack reliable food, transportation, or supplies? Accommodations simply make things more fair.
  • 15. 37 We have to get this done first because we only have enough time for these 3 things today. Model the process of adult thinking. For example, say, “We have to get this done first because we have only enough time for these 3 things today.” Keep your voice calm and avoid labeling actions. 21 Build core skills. When students underperform academically, teachers can use assessments as an initial roadmap to ascertain the range and dept of skill building they need. Of course, assessments don’t measure every skill that students need to succeed in school. Those core skills include • Attention and focus skills • Short- and long-term memory • Sequencing and processing skills • Problem-solving skills • Perseverance and ability to apply skills in the long term • Social skills • Hopefulness and self-esteem 39 What skills matter most for the student’s academic success? • Processing • Attentional focus • Locus of control • Memory (working) • Prioritization • Ordering/sequencing • Deferred gratification Each of these skills are compromised in kids from low-income families (86 in handout)
  • 16. 38 Build core skills. When students underperform academically, teachers can use assessments as an initial roadmap to ascertain the range and depth of skill building they need. Of course, assessments don’t measure every skill that students need to succeed in school. Those core skills include • Attention and focus skills • Short- and long-term memory • Sequencing and processing skills • Problem-solving skills • Perseverance and ability to apply skills in the long term • Social skills • Hopefulness and self-esteem 39 What skills matter most for the student’s academic success? • Processing • Attentional focus • Locus of control • Memory (working) • Prioritization • Ordering/sequencing • Deferred gratification Each of these skills are compromised in kids from low-income families (86 in handout) Build core skills. When students underperform academically, teachers can use assessments as an initial roadmap to ascertain the range and depth of skill building they need. Of course, assessments don’t measure every skill that students need to succeed in school. Those core skills include • Attention and focus skills • Short- and long-term memory • Sequencing and processing skills • Problem-solving skills • Perseverance and ability to apply skills in the long term • Social skills • Hopefulness and self-esteem 39 What skills matter most for the student’s academic success? • Processing • Attentional focus • Locus of control • Memory (working) • Prioritization • Ordering/sequencing • Deferred gratification Each of these skills are compromised in kids from low-income families (86 in handout)
  • 17. 39 Capture them in the arts, and the academics will follow. 124 Although studying the arts, participating in athletics, etc. may initially seem to be luxuries, especially in at-risk schools, their positive impact on the brain and learning is undeniable. In fact, these “luxuries” may be crucial to student success especially at high-risk schools because they provide students with the memory capacity to juggle multiple functions and retrieve others, speed of operations to prevent multiple tasks from bogging down the brain, the capacity to sequence, the ability to focus over time, and a positive attitude. 128 It is in our own best interest to incorporate the arts, athletic activities, and advanced placement curriculum into the school day. 118 The arts can build attentional skills, develop processing skills, such as sequencing and manipulation of procedures and data; strengthening memory skills, especially short-term memory; and build life-long, transferrable skills, such as reading. 118 Integration of music in the curriculum can contribute to better academic performance and enhanced neurobiological development. 119 Training in the arts influences cognition because participants become motivated to practice their particular art with intentional focused determination. This motivation typically leads to sustained attention, which leads to greater efficiency of the brain network involved in attention. That improved attention in turn leads to cognitive improvement in many areas including math and science. 119 Arts build your students’ academic operating systems as well as or better than anything else your school offers. 119
  • 18. 40 Arts support the development of critical neurobiological systems for ALL subject areas. Arts build the needed academic subskills like attention, sequencing, processing, and memory…PLUS the growth mindset. Records of 25,000 students progressing from 8th -10th grade showed that those who studied arts had higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, had better attendance records, and were more active in the community. (Fisk, 1999) (63 in handout) Schools that cut physical education time in favor of more “sit-and-get” test prep are missing out on big academic gains. 120 Exercise increases the release of brain-derived neurotropic factor, a protein that supports learning and memory function, repair and maintenance of neural circuits, and the production of brain cells that are crucial to forming the connections the brain needs to learn. It also strengthens cells and protects them from dying out. Exercise increase[s] levels of BDNF in the hippocampus, a brain area involved with learning and memory. Exercise increases the production and functionality of brain cells, which are highly correlated with learning, mood, and memory. Exercise leads to increased levels of calcium, which transported to the brain and enhances dopamine synthesis, making the brain sharper for both cognitive problem solving and working memory. When schools engage kids in high-quality physical education, it improves self-concept and reduces stress and aggression; and it improves academic performance. 120 [In studies] higher fitness levels were associated with higher achievement. 120
  • 19. 41 2000 without exercise 4000 with exercise #ofnewbraincellsproducedperday Provide opportunities for voluntary, gross motor, repetitive activity 5 days per week (i.e. running, bicycling, swimming, power-walking, aerobics, school sports, etc.). Experiments show exercise doubles production of new brain cells. Exercise 30 minutes per day 3-5 times per week and student success: • Triggers BDNF growth factors • Increases brain cells • Upregulates serotonin (mood, attention, memory, and neurogenesis) • Increases heart rate • Increases catecholamines • Builds cortical mass • Enhances cognitive arousal (62 in handout) Make daily exercise a priority. Why? No other strategy will BOTH reduce the devastating effects of chronic stress AND raise production of new brain cells AND increase attentional sequencing, memory skills and boost fun! Go for walks. • Many students will talk more while walking than seated • It gives student a chance to socialize and bond • Many students get restless from too much sitting • Memory improves while walking • Walking releases useful brain chemicals for learning (Schaefer, S., Lovden, M., Wieckhorst, B. and Lindenberger, U. (2010) Cognitive performance is improved while walking.) (78 in handout)
  • 20. 42 Sensory motor labs are another way to help jump-start academics. Many kids, especially those from poverty, do not have the essential brain wiring for academic success. Sensory motor labs increase cognitive achievement at a much greater rate than simple, boring, brain-unfriendly seatwork does. What all students do bring to school are 3 strong “relational” forces that drive their school behaviors: Students want the safety of a primary safe and reliable relationship. Students would prefer parents, positive friends, and teachers, but they’d take an “iffy” friend if no one else were available. The relationships that teachers build with students form the single strongest access to student goals, socialization, motivation, and academic performance. 20 Build relationships among students. 92 Build student-staff relationships. This may seem obvious, but for kids raised in poverty, it’s a make-or-break factor. 93 Relationship and status builders: • Call students by last name (i.e. Mr. Jefferson or Ms. Wilson) to learn and earn respect • Rotate and reframe classroom jobs so everyone can get status roles over time • Create directory of all students that lists positive skills and/or qualities (activity at 212 meeting) • Honor and appreciate differences • Include students in the running of your class and school (planning, eating lunch, etc.) (57 in handout)
  • 21. 43 What do academic mentors do? • Role model passion in learning • Offer resources regarding learning strategies • Affirm relationships with students • Demonstrate interest in course content • Refer students to services as needed (56 in handout) Relationship checklist: • An assigned mentor for every student (or were you going to wait until they drop out) • A collective school family (the first day of class is perfect for this) • A team/group or club to belong to (team creates a sense of belonging) • An activity for each student to learn names and more about of every student in class since they are unlikely to do it on their own) (55 in handout) Compared to control group, the mentored students: • Were more optimistic about their academics • Were 32% less likely to hit someone • Skipped 78% fewer days • Were in fewer antisocial activities • Missed a day of school 52% less • Had a higher GPA • Skipped class 37% less • Were 37% less likely to lie to a parent • Experienced better peer relationships • Were less likely to initiate alcohol use by 27% • Were less likely to initiate drug use by 46% • More likely to give emotional support Jekielek, S., Moore, K. Hair, E. and Scarupa, H. (2002) Mentoring: A Promising Strategy for Youth Development. Child Trends Briefing. (56 in handout)
  • 22. 44 Adults who build trusting, supportive relationships with low-SES students help foster those students’ independence and self-esteem and protect them from the deleterious effects of poverty. Principals, teachers, counselors, and coaches must provide the much-needed outstretched hand that will help children lift themselves out of the poverty cycle. 94 "You will hit a test score ceiling until you include students' emotional and social lives in your school." Some schools try to make kids “smarter” by simply trying to stuff more curriculum into their brains. This strategy is not supported by science and typically backfires by making students feel overmatched or bored. Kids raised in poverty need more than just content; they need capacity. 54 You will hit a test score ceiling until you include students’ emotional and social lives in your school makeover. 20
  • 23. 45 What's in your school? Examples: • Join a school club • Take sides in class with another student • Cooperative learning groups or partners • Be on a sports team • Hang out with a cluster of friends • Have a boyfriend/girlfriend • Be a teacher's close ally or stay after class • Be in a group that plays music, dances, theater, etc. • Go shopping, travel, entertainment "Educators have stories or our results. Those who don’t get results often cling to their stories about why success eludes them. Those who get results simply point to the numbers and say, "We did it!" Ultimately, all we educators have are our stories or our results. Those who don’t get results often cling to their stories about why success eludes them. Those who get results simply point to the numbers and say, “We did it!”
  • 24. 46 1 thing that surprised you… 1 thing that stuck… What still feels like nailing Jell-o to the wall (hard to do or understand)?
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  • 26. 48 www.youtube.com/cshadedentonstaff Check out at SlideShare http://www.slideshare.net/chrisshade cshade@dentonisd.org