Monday, May 12, 2014

ip to Teachers: Start a program called "AVID" to provide support to students

Here's the text from a press release:
During a ceremony at the White House where President Obama honored McComb and the 2014 state teachers of the year, McComb expressed his passion for the teaching profession: “I became a teacher because I had incredible teachers who were able to shine a light of hope and possibility into a dark time in my life. Teaching is my calling to do that for others, and an opportunity to spend my career living purposefully—helping children fulfill the promise of their lives.”
McComb works toward that purpose daily by mentoring students in a college-readiness program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). He started the program at Patapsco High School in 2007 to provide students who are academically in the middle and in need of assistance with the extra push needed to succeed. Ninety-eight percent of the students in AVID's last two graduating classes were admitted to four-year colleges and earned more merit scholarship money than the rest of the school's graduating class combined.

Here's the key point:  a teacher of the future facilitates.

Dennis Littky wrote about this process in his 2004 book, The Big Picture.  See his first chapter (which is available for free download from "ASCD dennis littky big picture"  

Just having the right goals is not the answer. It is how you reach those goals—the act of teaching—that is so critical. Another example: If we say that every student in the United States should understand democracy, which I think we all agree on, most people think, “OK, well, kids learn about democracy by reading the Constitution and talking about how it was developed, and so on.” Yes, this is very cool stuff to know. But while they're learning these things, most kids are not making one democracy-inspired decision throughout their entire 12 years of schooling. Most kids either aren't allowed to or don't believe they have the right to make decisions about anything significant during the years they are in school. So, to me, if we're trying to teach kids about the importance of democracy and being good citizens and about voting and all that comes with it, we really should be giving kids the opportunities to make real decisions and take real responsibility for what is going on around them. They should actually be voting, not just talking about it.
The act of being a teacher is the act of taking the goals I've described and then using your skills and love for kids to figure out how to create the best environment to help your students reach those goals. At the same time, you have to remember that every kid approaches learning in an individual way and will meet those goals in that individual way. And every kid is coming to you with his own personal baggage that may have to be worked through before he can even begin to learn what you are trying to teach him. The teacher's role is to find what that way is for each kid. Teaching becomes figuring out how to see and listen to each kid, one kid at a time, so that the kid can reach the goals for himself or herself. It is about finding the right relationship between the student and the adult, the relationship that works well for both of them. And, most importantly, teaching cannot happen in a vacuum. The community and the child's family must be included in every way possible. Parents are the student's first and most important teachers and they cannot, and must not, be left out of the education equation—not even when there are “professionals” around.

I hope you are inspired to read Littky's first chapter. 

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