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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Classroom Family: Emdin Teaches

Chris Emdin is teaching me how to build a more inclusive, collaborative teaching/learning space by introducing me to many, many teaching/learning points and strategies via his book, For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood. . .and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education.

Barber and conversationalist, Marcus Harvey, infers through his examples in the book that this learning will require practice since Emdin urges us to go deeper, get better, and reach out in ways that matter with regard to educating all of our students well.

I'll start to employ his wisdom in the following ways:
  • Create significant opportunity at the start of the school year as well as throughout the year to get to know students, and to let them get to know one another in safe, welcoming, open ways.
  • As I mentioned in my past post, slowing down the teaching/learning to make space for listening, thoughtful response, and co-creating the classroom environment with students.
  • Working with colleagues, students, and families to find out how we can better get to know the places where students live and spend time.
  • Beginning the year with a focus on names.

I'll also gauge my success with the following questions:
  • Do students seem comfortable in the room?
  • Is everyone willing to speak up, share, and contribute?
  • Have I made the time to get to know each child on an individual basis? Do I know what matters to each child?
  • Are students engaged in the learning? Are they continuing the learning at home on their own?
  • Are students willing to ask questions and advocate for themselves?

And, I'll think with my colleagues about the possibility of the following events:
  • Inviting parents to a PLC to talk with us about what's working for their children and what could be better.
  • Thinking of ways to develop our TeamFive "Family."
  • Incorporating curriculum that reflects the diversity of culture, race, gender, interests, and needs in our classrooms.
  • Teaching together and independently in ways that invite students in--choreographing our pedagogy in ways that elicit positive response, engagement, and significant learning. 
Finally, I'll return to the notes below again and again to right my direction in this regard--powerful words from Emdin and those he quotes to lead us to stronger, more inclusive, and meaningful schools. Thanks Chris!