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future kids
Be the Change
By Leslie Hooks, Lead.Educate.Hope (LEH) Consulting
This concept resonates in classrooms around the world:
in pedagogy books, classroom-management workshops,
and from the lips of educators past and present. . Looking
solely at the words, it's a fairly simple concept to grasp.
It doesn't leave much room for questions or disdain, it
doesn't create an uncomfortable skin, Or is it?
Every day when educators enter the classroom, it is with
the great hope and determination that they will not only
reach eager minds, but that their deliberate intent to
engage students through meaningful, real-world contexts
will resound throughout the learning space.
Intentional. Meaningful. Real World. These are the three
drivers of any successful learning experience. In any
context, the need to know how the learning will improve
cognition while remaining relevant today, in the real world,
is how students stay engaged. What happens in the absence
of these three tenets? What happens when students cannot
make relevant connections to their immediate lives? What
happens is that the learning begins to slowly shut down,
students become disengaged, and the achievement gap
is born.
The achievement gap is defined as the observed, persistent
disparity of educational measures between subgroups, and
it has lived in schools for decades. Across the United States,
policy is being written to address this epidemic. However,
policy alone is not the charge of the achievement gap,
but rather, the teacher. As educators, we recognize that
"time" is one of the ugliest words in the classroom and, as
a nation, we are facing an achievement gap stemming from
the depths of poverty and springing up in the most affluent
communities--time is not a luxury. It is necessary that we,
as teachers, invest as much effort into developing authentic
relationships with our students as we invest in our personal
relationships. Often, students see their teachers more
than their parents--think about that. A self-contained
elementary teacher sees students close to 40 hours a week!
How much more time do we need? Research emphasizes
how authentic, meaningful relationships within the school
environment lend themselves to academic achievement.
It's no longer enough to tell a child that what they are
learning will help them get to college or will help them
get a better job. To children, those reasons are abstract.
The students embroiled in an achievement gap, oftentimes,
are quite aware of their abilities and their struggles. These
students need relevant connections. What's relevant to an
adult is not always relevant to a child.
So, do we close the achievement gap? No. It's time to
ELIMINATE the achievement Gap! To eliminate something
means it is no longer there; it starts with the heart, and
the time is now! It is here, in this moment, that a teacher
can pull a child from the clenches and disparity of a gap
and onto the platform of high achievement and self-
worth, imbuing the child with an intrinsic desire to learn.
But before that happens, one must reach one in order to
teach one.