“Every student in our classroom has the ability to engage with the material and ideas we present. Allowing choices and student agency in how they demonstrate their knowledge and abilities might just blow your mind–in a good way. Research has shown again and again that those with learning issues that might prevent them from being successful in traditional classroom models and thus be labeled failures, are often some of our most creative and pioneering contributors to society. Let’s help them build their creativity and passions now.”
-Hollie Marjanovic, Upper School Learning Facilitator-
The teaching/learning word of the week is inclusivity. It’s a big word with a big mission: to work toward a classroom in which all students, regardless of their learning differences, racial identity, cultural affiliation, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, religious preferences, (the list could go on) experience a warm sense of belonging, a certainty that all voices are not only accepted in a school space but are nurtured and supported so they can engage confidently as crucial pieces of the tapestry making up every single classroom.
Our St. Andrew’s expert of the week is the wonderful Hollie Marjanovic, our Upper School Learning Facilitator (and so much more), so our special inclusivity focus of the week will be strategies for accommodating students with learning differences . . . specifically ADHD, the most prevalent diagnosis among students at St. Andrew’s. Below is a short list of resources that can help you better understand the challenges our youth face and cultivate classrooms that set up all students for success. For more, check out the amazing webpage with curated resources by our Student Support Services Department (MySA/Faculty/Resources/Student Support Services).
A thing to read:
- Interested in a book that will push you beyond a “one size fits all” teaching philosophy? Mel Levin’s A Mind at a Time will invigorate you to look at each student in your classroom as distinct, with their own specific strengths, weaknesses, and learning patterns.
- Want to set up predictable routines and communication to help all students succeed but feeling anxious about how to do so with the uncertainty of the fall? Check out this short Edutopia post:“How to Plan When you Don’t Know What to Plan For”
- Want some broader inclusivity strategies? Check out this short piece: “Creating an Inclusive Classroom.”
A thing to listen to:
- For some practical strategies on teaching students with ADHD, listen to this not-to-miss podcast by Jerome Schultz.
A thing to watch:
- Only got five minutes? Watch this Adolescents with ADHD Youtube to get a sense of what it is like to live and go to school with ADHD.
A thing to browse:
- Find what you need among the educator resources/articles/ideas provided on understood.org, an organization dedicated to “shaping a world where millions of people who learn and think differently can thrive at home, school, and work.”
A thing to subscribe to:
- For a potpourri of conversations (e.g. what did we learn during COVID-19 distance learning to better support students on the spectrum?) subscribe to Inclusive Education Project Podcast
A thing to do:
- Make a questionnaire to give to your students on the first day of school. Ask them to share something(s) they wish all teachers knew about them.
FACULTY RECOMMENDATION OF THE WEEK (Featuring Nancy Rivas!)
I came upon this podcast [“Hidden Brain”] from NPR, and, just like a wonderful book, I had to share it. The podcast focuses on understanding human behavior to provide a comprehensive outlook on issues arising in contemporary times. This could be a great cultural tool since the podcast also offers study guides for MS, US students. Here’s one of my favorite episodes on how rules are regarded in different societies. As conversations on stress, politics, pandemic, and ethnicity have become more relevant in our midst, I thought we could use it to share the stories, people’s perspectives, and the scientists’ take on human behavior. Perhaps we can incorporate it in the classroom or to share it to a wider audience.