- What will you do next?
- By when will you do it?
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
- What more do I have to learn?
- What is the lesson here for me?
- What is the waiting teaching me?
- If not this, then what?
- What else can I do to get the same results?
These thoughts come from the book Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser.
Monday, December 27, 2010
This anonymous author says there are 3 rules for accomplishing our goals (wants):
- Read the list of wants 3 times a day--morning, noon, and night
- Think of what you want as often as possible
- Do not talk to anyone about your plan except to the Great Power within you which will unfold to your Objective Mind the method of accomplishment
This little treasure can be found at Amazon.
Friday, December 24, 2010
One day, somebody decided to put some catfish in the tank with the codfish. Catfish are a natural enemy of codfish, so as the tank traveled across the country, the codfish had to stay alert and active, and be on the lookout for the catfish. Amazingly, when the tank arrived at the destination, the codfish were as fresh and tasty as they were in the Northeast.
Just as with the codfish, adversity may be serving a great purpose in our lives.
Note: This story taken from Be Your Best Life Now Journal by Joel Osteen
Thursday, December 23, 2010
According to Dr. Orison S. Marden it's important to not only be reading but to be reading those books that will elevate and refine you and raise your ideals and clarify your ambition. He goes onto suggest that one should read books of power, books that encourage one to have a purpose for being. Therefore, as Andrew Carnegie advised, "A man's reading program should be as carefully planned as his daily diet, for that too is food, without which he cannot grow mentally."
These ideas come from the book Books Are Tremendous by Charlie "Tremendous" Jones.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
One example of someone who had to build again was Thomas Carlyle, a 19th century Scot essayist. He shared his first draft of his history of the French Revolution with John Stuart Mill. The latter accidentally let his housemaid use the papers to kindle a fire. Carlyle had to reproduce the book from scratch.
Another example is Ernest Hemingway in 1922. Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, was traveling by train to Switzerland carrying a suitcase containing all that Ernest had written up to that point. The case was stolen. Legend has it that when Ernest started writing again, his writing was even better and made him into the author whose works we now cherish.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The undesirable fruits of hurry are impatience, fret, worry, and confusion. It uses up unfocused energy as a substitute for a clearly defined plan.
Hurry is a counterfeit of haste. Haste has an ideal, distinct aim that uses the most efficient and best methods to get there. It's course is determined with one compass to give direction. Hurry, on the other hand, is guided by all kinds of different compasses hoping that at least one will get to some kind of desired destination.
Resource: These thoughts were based on thoughts by William George Jordan in the book The Majesty of Calmness.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Therefore, it would behoove both principals and teachers to seek for ways to write, not only encourage their students to write. Some writing opportunities:
- Handwritten letters and notes
- Reflective journal
- Dialogue journal
- Articles for professional journals and/or newletters
- Book (s)
- Letters to the Editor
Being an example of writing, educators can encourage students to write.
Friday, December 17, 2010
- Tell students that you aren't smarter than they are, just more experienced.
- Show students every day how they have grown intellectually.
- Have high standards and teach them how to reach those high standards.
- Tell children when they are behind and develop a plan to help them catch up.
- Be willing to work with students before school, after school, during school vacations to help them master their subjects.
Resource for these attributes of Rafe Esquith: Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Thursday, December 16, 2010
- She was fascinated with the process of learning and continues to learn along with the students.
- On the first day of school she promised all her students that they would learn and she forged a contract with them.
- She didn't blame the students for any lack of success they had experienced. She blamed the system for failing them.
- She set extremely high standards for all the students and taught them words and concepts way beyond their grasp at first. She taught them how to reach the high standards.
- She created an atmosphere of genuine acceptance and cared about every student.
These characteristics of Marva Collins come from the book: Mindset by Dr. Carol S. Dweck
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
- Studying a topic for only ten minutes a day can make someone an expert on that topic. Ten minutes a day translates into 3560 minutes in a year--or 60 hours.
- Read 20 pgs. a day--not just professional material but also recreational books, including books written for the age group of the students you teach.
- Develop at least one new skill each year.
- Continually use one's attributes, characteristics, and talents. One of Charlie Jones's seven "tremendous" laws of leadership is Use or Lose. This includes attributes, characteristics, and talents.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
These thoughts are built upon the thoughts of Sheri Dew in her book No One Can Take Your Place.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
It would be helpful to pray that Heavenly Father would bless us with this sense of urgency in our work and then act as if we have been blessed with this gift.
Thanks to the words of Charlie "Tremendous" Jones for inspiring this post---www.myarticlearchive.com/articles/7/206.htm
Friday, December 10, 2010
One bit of wisdom that I learned from him was that rather than asking people for advice about what we should do we should seek counsel instead. He defined counsel as something we do to gather information from different sources. After gathering this counsel we need to make our own decision--with the help of God.
When people ask for our advice Jones recommends that we encourage them to read books that will get them to think and share it.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Because people and books can have such an impact on who we become it would behoove us to seek out the best books and quality people. The best books can be fiction as well as nonfiction and self-help books. Biographies and autobiographies are great, too.
Charlie "Tremendous" Jones shared a great idea. He said that instead of giving people business cards which people usually throw away give people a book with your name and contact information inside.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
- Focus on people, not programs
- Be innovative
- Delegate responsibilities so others may grow--counsel and motivate but don't do the work that has been delegated to others
- Dedicate the greatest attention to priorities which will be different at different times
- Do the best you can
"¡Oh, sed prudentes!", Liahona, noviembre de 2006, págs. 18-20
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
What is it about stories that causes us to remember them? They touch our emotions because we can see ourselves in the story wondering what we would do in a similar situation. Our students are no different. Fiction books are a great way to introduce students to stories. Biographies and autobiographies are great, too.
Sharing stories also creates a bond between the storyteller and the listeners. That may be one reason Abraham Lincoln is loved and revered so much--He was a terrific storyteller.
We can improve our storytelling skills by telling stories and learning from the best. Every summer there is the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival in Utah that would be great to attend.
Monday, December 6, 2010
With all the many new technological ways to communicate--texting, email, Facebook, etc.--who still doesn't like to receive in the mail--amongst all the junk mail--a handwritten letter with a real stamp?
Writing letters is an authentic way to teach students about writing. Students can write all kinds of letters-- to each other, younger students, famous people, the editor of a newspaper, etc. It could be that some of those letters will be kept in someone else's treasured box and/or be a part of history some day.
Friday, December 3, 2010
How does a leader become credible? Do what you say you will do (DWYSYWD)--keep promises. This builds trustworthiness which is a key element of credibility. It's a good idea to underpromise and overdeliver. It's also important to "walk the talk" because people believe what you do more than what you say-- our actions more than our words tell who we really are. It's like the quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say." A credible leader is also someone who stands for something and has the courage to stand by her convictions.
It bears repeating--credibility is the foundation of leadership.
The foundation for this post comes from:
Encouraging the Heart by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
This reminds me of the story of the woman who always cut off part of the roast before putting it in the pan. Someone finally asked her why she did that. She said that she didn't know but her mother had always done it. The mother said she had only done it because her mother had. When the grandmother was asked why she did it she replied that the roast was too big for the pan she had.
An educator must continually ask himself what the ultimate goal is and if what he is doing--even if has become the way of doing things around here--helps to achieve that goal.
Monday, November 29, 2010
For instance, it does no good to create a generation of people who are aliterate--people who know how to read but don't. If we can help create in students a love for books and for learning they will have a much greater desire to learn to read. Separating reading skills from books makes most young people hate reading.
Where we put our energies, time, and monies show what we value most. Therefore, if we value creating a generation of people who read it would probably be wise for us to put our energies, time, and monies into stocking our classroom and school libraries rather than into computer programs and packaged curriculums that only focus on reading skills.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Thoughts for this posting:
The Quality School by William Glasser
Friday, November 26, 2010
One of the latest examples is a school in Salt Lake City--Guadalupe School charter school--which was recently honored for closing the achievement gap. What are some of the things that this school with a 95% Hispanic student population do to close the achievement gap:
- Offers door-to-door transportation which lessens family mobility concerns
- Provides an early childhood program which starts at birth by sending parent educators into homes weekly to mentor moms and dads
- Students begin attending the school's PreK program at age 3
- All of the teachers are "highly-qualified" and ESL Endorsed
- Requires 100% attendance at Parent/Teacher Conferences and does whatever it takes to make sure that happens
- Supports a strong volunteer program consisting of community volunteers who come at least once a week to provide one-on-one interaction with students
- Works with the whole child which includes having a mobile clinic visit the campus every six weeks
Guadalupe has been in existence for many years. It would behoove other schools serving a similar student population to learn from this school and search for ways to apply the same principles and strategies rather than look for excuses as to why it can't be done in their setting.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
If teachers are to inspire their students to read they might want to consider how they can become more like Oprah in this regard. There are studies that have shown that most teachers do not read professional journals or books and only 25% of them read 3-4 books in a month. An additional 20% said they had read nothing in the last six months. Educators are not reading much more than the general population. Yet, they have the responsibility to help develop in their students a love for reading.
Administrators can help. Research about teachers has shown that in schools where their administrators talk about books and professional journals, the teachers read more on their own. Administrators can also encourage teachers to join professional organizations--maybe even paying for the membership--because educators who belong to professional organizations read more professional journals.
Some ideas for this post:
The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Another idea would be to have an Orientation meeting specifically for the new teachers and answer any questions they may have as well as let them know of opportunities that are available for them to grow professionally. It could be helpful to have a panel of teachers who are relatively new to the school to share what they wish someone had told them when they first started to work at the school.
Assigning a buddy as well as a mentor can also help the new teacher navigate the new environment and feel welcome.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
When I was at Jackson Elementary our principal at the time, Ernie Nix, showed us the film FISH Philosophy about Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington. They had learned at this market the importance of fun in the workplace. There is also a book Fish! Catch the Energy written by the owner of the market, John Yokoyama.
Principals can do a lot to make the school a place of fun for the teachers. It starts with the attitude. With the right attitude the principal will think of ways to make a teacher's day and be there to provide undivided, caring attention. This is especially important for those teachers who are irreplaceables.
Monday, November 22, 2010
The next group of teachers is the "solids"--those who are hardworking and dependable but haven't reached the irreplaceable level, yet. The third group of teachers is what we can call the "replacements"--those who are not very good and those who are negative forces.
To recruit and retain the irreplaceables we need to understand what motivates them--achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement, and personal growth. Principals need to find ways to support the irreplaceables in these areas such as making sure that no matter how tight the budget may be monies need to be available for professional development. Also, they need to be recognized for the work they are doing. If irreplaceables don't receive these motivators that support their professionalism they will be the first to leave.
Two sources for this information:
- Already to Harvest by Hartman Rector, Jr.
- Six Types of Teachers by Douglas J. Fiore and Todd Whitaker
Saturday, November 20, 2010
The best people are mavericks and want to leave their mark. They are eccentric--rebels, radicals, and revolutionaries--who walk down unconventional paths. These people are willing to leave the safe harbor.
"It is always from the minority acting in ways different from what the majority would prescribe that the majority in the end learns to do better," advises Friedrich August von Hayek.
Ideas based on the works of:
- What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
- High-Velocity Cultural Change by Price Pritchett
- My Years As a Hispanic Youth Advocate by Barbara Lovejoy
Friday, November 19, 2010
When hiring this new breed look for those who will not only be excellent in the classroom but will also have a profound influence on the whole school. Also, focus on talents. Those who have the talent to love students, are bright minded, have a positive attitude, have a congenial personality, have a great work ethic, and have leadership skills will learn the needed skills and eventually in the long run outperform those who are resting on experience and credential laurels.
These thoughts are taken from the following works:
- What Great Principals Do Differently by Todd Whitaker
- High-Velocity Culture Change by Price Pritchett and Ron Pound
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Educators who have high expectations for themselves would constantly be learning and growing by doing such things as:
- Attending conferences, seminars, and workshops to learn and to network with others who want to do quality work
- Finding a mentor and participate in cognitive coaching
- Reading books and articles
- Keeping a reflection journal to determine what went well and what could be improved
- Participating in action research projects
In other words, the teacher who had high expectations would be to be the head learner in the classroom and the principal who had high expectations would be to be the head learner in the school.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
- Why did I become an educator?
- What do I stand for as an educator?
- What do I think is important in education?
- What are the gifts that I bring to my work?
- What do I want my legacy as an educator to be?
- What can I do to remember my own heart?
- What do I value most?
- What do my strong interests and passions tell me about my purpose in life?
- What opinions do I have about education that I passionately care about?
- What is my vision of a quality school? What would I specifically be doing in such a school?
- What behaviors would I never engage in if I were in a quality school?
- What kinds of things would I say to all the different stakeholders in a quality school?
Ideas for these questions came from the book Inspiriting Quality in Your School by Robert A. Sullo and Failure Is Not An Option by Alan Blankstein.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
- Membership in national and local organizations--and reading the journals and other publications from those organizations
- Subscriptions to journals specifically related to Hispanic learners
- Attendance at national and local conferences, workshops, seminars, classes
- Reading books and articles by the experts in the field and then provide "cliff notes" for others
- Collaboration with others within the school as well as outside of the school
- Mentors and networks
- A personal reflection journal
- Participation in teacher action research projects
- Writing articles for different publications
- Participation in a blog
- Visits to others classrooms and schools
- Choose an area of expertise and spend 10 minutes every day learning about that topic
- Videos and DVDs
- Participation in cognitive coaching
Some of these ideas can be divided amongst staff members. For instance, each staff member can join a different organization and then share what is learned with other staff members and stakeholders. Each teacher should develop his or her own professional development plan that is shared with the principal and other staff members. The idea is to be continually learning AND applying what is learned so students are constantly provided with the best we can give them.
Monday, October 18, 2010
- The teacher is deeply interested in students and the materials being taught
- The teacher conducts class discussions and doesn't lecture much
- The teacher is able to relate to them on their level
- The teacher doesn't use coercion--threatening and punishing
- The teacher makes an effort to be entertaining by using humor, drama, and a variety of teaching methods
Thursday, October 14, 2010
- Thematic teaching: Susan Kovalik
- Brain based research: Eric Jensen and Susan Kovalik
- Multiple intelligences: Howard Gardner
- Cooperative learning: Spencer Kagan
- Differentiated instruction: Carol Ann Tomlinson
When attending trainings on these topics it's important to keep in mind how they can be adapted to specifically meet the needs of Hispanic learners as well as students in general.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Not only do teachers who want to be quality teachers get criticized for working hard but also for caring too much. They are told that too much personal involvement is unprofessional. To give no heed to these criticisms is important, especially when working with the Hispanic population. Hispanics as a whole hold teachers in very high esteem and they tend to invite them to many of their special family events such as weddings, baptisms, birthday parties, confirmations, baby showers, quinceañeras, etc.
One of the ways teachers can combat the unpopularity they may face for what they belief and do is to intentionally befriend their critics. They can do this by asking their critics for their opinion or advice about something or ask them to lunch or dinner. But whatever these quality teacher wanabees choose to do it is extremely important not to let the critics' negativity rub off on them.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Having this personal connection also makes it easier to become savvy about which rules and policies must be obeyed and which can be ignored. This way teachers can do the very least that is required in order to devote their time and energy to their students.
Also, the teachers who are personally connected to the people in the bureaucracy they tend to get more "favors" from those people to help them better serve their students. In other words, they have learned how to make the system work for them instead of against them.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Effective teachers seem to be able to cross this divide. They use generalized principles that they learn from research done by researchers about what constitutes good teaching and learning for the student population in their classrooms to develop classroom practices. They also reflect on other practices they implement to see if generalized principles support those practices. Part of this reflection may include teacher action research projects and/or keeping a reflective journal that they then can share with a university professor/researcher or publish in an academic journal.
When teachers participate in this kind of learning they will experience continued professional growth resulting in better teaching and student learning.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
- Incorporate the students' languages, cultures, and daily experiences into the academic and social context of schooling AND
- Explicitly teach the school's (and society's) codes and customs
To better understand how to do the first, educators can make home visits, confer with community members, talk with parents, consult with minority educators, and observe children in and out of school.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
- It's always what we want at the time--survival, love/belonging, freedom/choice, power, fun-- that causes our behavior. That which we get from the outside--threats or rewards--is only information.
- Kicking students out of class or school does not deal with the basic problem or achieve what needs to happen which is getting them involved in quality learning.
- It's best to deal with disruptive students without notifying parents. We should strive to only contact parents to tell them positive things.
- When there is a problem with a student or students don't waste time trying to find fault or blame. It doesn't really matter.
- When confronted with a disruptive student, don't threaten, get angry, or sulk and take it personally.
- Stay calm when dealing with a disruptive student so as not to focus on what the student said or did no matter how out of order.
These tips are easier said than done but they are all worth incorporating the best we can...and our best will keep getting better.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
He suggests that if we value something, we can grade it. For example, if you value students being on time then give each student an A who is on time--seated and ready to work. Ten A's in a row equals a 100% quiz grade. This idea could be applied to anything else you might value such as observing the dress code or being courteous. In other words, you are noticing the behavior you do want. As Brian mentions this might also be a way for a student who struggles in class to get an A for once.
To receive Brian's monthly newletter or arrange for him to do a presentation contact firstname.lastname@example.org at the Teacher Learning Center. Brian also authored the book Taming of the Crew which I highly recommend.
Monday, October 4, 2010
When a child does misbehave the focus should be on what is creating the problem rather trying to find the best punishment. After all, punishment doesn't work! And because the motivation for a misbehavior is different for each child, the response must be equitable and fair rather than equal.
When a student is being disciplined--separated from other students in the classroom, sent to the principal, or suspended--learning is not taking place for that student. This will obviously have an effect on the student's academic achievement.
Proactive disciplinarians establish strong and powerfully reinforced expectations of appropriate conduct. When teachers combine this with interesting learning activities and caring relationships with each students, they won't have to waste learning time disciplining. Therefore, teachers will ask "How can I involve them?" rather than "How can I control them?"
Friday, October 1, 2010
So what needs to be done?
- Teachers need to view their work as a calling.
- Teachers need to align themselves with a school that has a compelling vision/mission that matches their personal vision/mission.
- Teachers need to have opportunities to collaborate and to work as a team to achieve the vision/mission.
- Teachers and their students need to have successes they can celebrate because success breeds success.
Teachers who are able to meet these four criteria will be better able to confront those external factors that result in burnout because of the stress they cause.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Effective teachers believe and accept that problems of students will always be part of a teacher's job. They see problems as part of their normal, expected workload. They are not too hasty in wanting to pass off a student problem to the principal, the school psychologist/social worker, and/or to the Special Education teacher expecting them to resolve the problem.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A favorite quote of mine is, "It doesn't matter how much you care for me, but rather that I love you enough." It's important to remember that love can be an action even when it isn't a feeling. A teacher may not feel love for all his students but he can still demonstrate respect and care for all students. A teacher does this when he feels it is his responsibility to teach all students as much as possible regardless of how he feels about them.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Search Institute has has identified 40 developmental assets--divided into external and internal-- that help students grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible. Teachers can address many of them:
- External asset--support--caring school climate: Child experiences warm, welcoming relationships with teachers, caregivers, and peers at school.
- External asset--empowerment--service to others: Child has opportunities to serve in the community with adult support and approval.
- External asset--boundaries and expectations--school boundaries: Schools have clear, consistent rules and consequences and uses a positive approach to discipline.
- External asset--boundaries and expectations--adult role models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior and encourage the child to follow these examples.
- External asset--boundaries and expectations--high expectations: Parent(s), teachers, and other influential adults encourage the child to do her or his best in all tasks and celebrate their successes.
- External asset--constructive use of time--child programs: Child participates weekly in at least one sport, club, or organization within the school or community.
- Internal asset--commitment to learning--learning engagement: Child is enthused about learning and going to school.
- Internal asset--commitment to learning--bonding to school: Child is encouraged to have and feels a sense of belonging at school.
- Internal asset--social competencies--cultural competence: Child continues to learn about her or his own culture identity and is encouraged to interact positively with children of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.
- Internal asset--positive identity--self-esteem: Child likes herself or himself and feels valued by others.
For more information on the 40 assets, the 40 assets by age levels, a Spanish translation of the assets, and much more valuable information visit the website http://www.search-institute.org/
Monday, September 27, 2010
It saddens me to hear people make excuses as to why they can't achieve the same success that successful teachers and/or schools have. They blame the victim, society, the bureaucracy, lack of resources, and other external factors for their inability to make a difference for children. Wouldn't it be wiser to say, "If they can do it, so can I. What can I learn from them? Of course, I can't be an exact replicate, but I can apply the same principles to my situation." This would be a lot more productive than wasting one's energy making excuses as to why it can't be done in your situation and criticizing those who have been successful.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Even though almost all teachers enter the teaching profession because they care about children, a large number of students, especially low-achieving students, feel "no one cares." What can teachers do to show they care?
Being a "warm demander" as described by Judith Kleinfield and later by James Vasquez characterizes the kind of caring that is effective, especially for ethnically diverse students. Warm demanders are committed, respectful, dedicated, and competent educators who are not afraid, resentful, or hostile towards their students. They provide a tough-minded, no-nonsense, structured, and disciplined classroom that creates a supportive psychological environment that scaffolds student engagement and achievement and exhibits a strong belief in their students' strengths and capabilities. These warm demanders display a "purpose of insistence" which means that they insist that the students meet established academic and behavioral standards. Because they have the attitude that not only can all their students learn but that they must learn they never give up on a child.
By establishing this type of caring relationship with their students warm demanders convince their students that they believe in them and that they have their best interests at heart.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
- they are over age 30
- they live in or were raised in metropolitan area
- they have attended schools in a metropolitan area as a child or youth
- they are parents or have had life experiences which involved extensive relationships with children
- they are African American, Latino, members of a minority group, or from a working class white family
- they earned a bachelors degree from other than a highly selective or elitist college; many started in community colleges
- they majored in a field other than education as an undergraduate
- they have had extensive and varied work experiences before seeking to become teachers
- they are part of a family/church/ethnic community in which teaching is still regarded as a fairly high-status career
- they have experienced a period of living in poverty or have the capacity to emphasize with the challenges of living in poverty
- they have had out-of-school experiences with children of diverse backgrounds
- they may have had military experience but not as an officer
- they live in the city or would have no objection to moving into the city to meet a residency requirement
- they have engaged in paid or volunteer activities with diverse children in poverty
- they can multitask and do several things simultaneously and quickly for extended periods, such as parenting and working part time jobs
Obviously these attributes won't guarantee that a teacher will be successful with Hispanic learners but the likelihood is greater that they will succeed and remain at a school with a high Hispanic population.
Haberman, M. (2005) Star Teachers the Ideology and Best Practice of Effective Teachers of Diverse Children and Youth in Poverty. The Haberman Educational Foundation.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Knowing this should cause us to rethink what is meant by highly qualified. That term is relative--depending on the situation. Plus, the best and brightest as determined by the scores on assessment tests given to teacher candidates as well as their grades are not good predictors of success with the Hispanic student population.
We obviously need to do some rethinking if we are going to better serve our Hispanic learners.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Yet, just being Hispanic isn't sufficient. I have seen both extremely effective Hispanic education leaders and those who were less than effective. Plus, when I have interviewed successful Hispanics and asked them who influenced them in their academic pursuits more often than not they mentioned a teacher, a leader, and/or a mentor who was not Hispanic. It was the interest and caring that mattered more than the culture.
I have come to the conclusion that having a Hispanic principal could be a bonus but not a necessity if a school is to meet the needs of our Hispanic learners.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
When principals take a stance that student achievement is central to their role the influence is greater. No matter how small that influence may be, it will be significant if the principal has a deep understanding of how students learn and continually advocates for these principles of learning. In fact, schools are unlikely to have a signifant impact on student achievement without highly effective principals.
Friday, September 17, 2010
The 8 principles are:
- The Principle of Intention: Knowing what you want to have happen in a particular situation and also the motivation below this ultimate goal...and then sending this out into the Universe will create energy and attract people, material resources, etc. to make it a reality.
- The Principle of Attention: Energy flows were attention goes. What you think about, talk about, write about, and do is where you are putting your attention and this attention will act like a magnet.
- The Principle of Unique Gifts and Talents: You must discover your unique talents and gifts, then cultivate and develop them, and then share them and then help others within your influence and stewarship to do the same. This is a continuing process as you take advantage of new opportunities and learning new things.
- The Principle of Gratitude: Have an attitude of gratitude towards both the positive and challenging things that come. Having an attitude of gratitude is a form of energy that has the power to attract and empower...and beget more gratitude.
- The Principle of Unique Life Lessons: Be reflective about all that is happening in your life seeing how problems can be opportunities to learn and grow.
- The Principle of A Holistic Perspective: This means being willing to see things from different perspectives and helping others to do the same. This includes being able to see how the parts and the whole are connected.
- The Principle of Openness: This means doing the work of opening your mind, heart, and spirit moment by moment in order to be receptive to the limitless information of the Universe.
- The Principle of Trust: Trust is the foundation of leadership. First be a trustworthy person. Then start trusting that each person is innately good and treat him/her accordingly which help bring out the best in others and empower them. In other words, trust is a choice you make, not about the other person.
For more information you can visit the website: www.cfel.org
Thursday, September 16, 2010
In today's posting the direct ways will be mentioned. These include visiting classrooms, frequently interacting with students, publicly celebrating accomplishments of students, and maintaining visibility around the school.
Listening to student voices--especially those of diverse learners and low achieving students--has provided added insights as to what principal behaviors contribute to their learning such as:
- Not only do principals need to be visible, but they also need to be approachable. They make themselves available to speak with students and engage with them letting students know they are interested in their personal academic challenges and successes.
- The principals not only visited classrooms on a regular basis but they were interacted with the students while in the classroom.
- Principals who exhibited both administrative and teacher behaviors were more influential than those who only exhibited administrative behaviors.
The impact of leadership tends to be greatest where the learning needs of students are most acute. In fact, it is next to impossible to meet the needs of diverse learners without the critical component of effective and powerful leadership.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
- Principals have the potential to have an impact on student academic achievement
- Diverse learners have specific, unique needs that, if met contribute to their academic success
- The principles and attributes of spiritual leadership complement the needs diverse learners have to be successful
- Principals who become spiritual leaders will help diverse learners experience greater academic success
My hypothesis became: Principals who approach their educational leadership role as a spiritual leader will be more effective in helping diverse learners be academically successful. Therefore, over the next few blog postings we'll explore what it means to be a spiritual leader and what it takes to become one.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I respect all men, and it is from disrespect for none that I say there are no great leaders in the world today. In fact, greatness itself is laughed to scorn. You should not be great today--you should sink yourself into the herd, you not be distinguished from the crowd you should simply be one of the many.
The commanding voice is lacking. The voice which speaks little, but which when it speaks, speaks with compelling moral authority--this kind of voice is not congenial to this age. The age flattens and levels down every distinction into drab uniformity....This is simply an unrespecting age--it is the age of utter mediocrity. To be come a leader today, even a mediocre leader, is a most uphill struggle. You are constantly and in every way and from every side pulled down.
If you believe in prayer, my friends, and I know you do, then pray that God send great leaders, especially great leaders of the spirit.
Although these words of Malik were spoken 35 years ago they still ring
true. More than ever great leaders of the spirit who rise above
mediocrity are needed, especially in our schools with a high Hispanic
Monday, September 13, 2010
- We are intentionally disinviting
- We are unintentially disinviting
- We are unintentially inviting
- We are intentially inviting
We would obviously not want teachers and other staff members in our schools who are intentially disinviting to students and other stakeholders but much harm can also be caused by being unintentially disinviting. The latter often happens when we don't understand the culture of other people. For instance, in the Hispanic culture it is important to build some rapport before getting to the bottom line---whether that be in written correspondence or face-to-face communication.
It is wonderful to be inviting but when it is unintentional we are unable to identify what is making a difference. We want to reach the point where we choose to do those things that are inviting. In other words, we purposefully extend intential invitations. Dr. Purkey uses the analogy of the starfish with its five arms to demonstrate the five areas of a school where we want to be intentionally inviting: 1) persons, 2) places, 3) processes, 4) programs, and 5) policies.
Dr. Purkey identifies the disinviting things we do as giving out "orange cards" and the inviting things we do as "blue cards." Blue cards carry a message that the person is able, valuable, and responsible encouraging trust, respect, optimism, and intentionality while orange cards carry exactly the opposite message. Each person requires at least 12 blue cards for every orange card just to "make it through the night." The strength of orange cards is demonstrated by this ratio. Therefore, it is critical that we be intentially inviting by giving out as many blue cards as we possibly can to our students and other school stakeholders on a daily basis.
The following are some books by Dr. Purkey that every school will want to have in its professional library:
- Becoming an Invitational Leader
- The Inviting School Treasury
- From Conflict to Conciliation
- Inviting School Success
- Fundamentals of Invitational Education
- Inviting Positive Classroom Discipline
To learn more about Invitational Education, including how to become a member, visit the wesite:
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The following books Dr. Glasser has authored are great resources that everyone who wants to make a difference for Hispanic learners will want to read:
- Choice Theory in the Classroom
- Schools Without Failure
- The Quality School
- The Quality School Teacher
- Every Student Can Succeed
For more information visit the website: http://wglasser.com/
Friday, September 10, 2010
We can care about our Hispanic learners and the fact that they aren't experiencing the academic achievement that they are capable of achieving but until we care for them, nothing will change. If we stay stuck in the caring about, we will look at the data, shake our heads, continue doing what we have always done to preserve the status quo, and then blame a variety of factors other than ourselves when nothing changes. This scenario causes a disconnect with educators insisting that they care while at the same time students are crying out that no one cares about them at school.
If there is to be a change we must move to care for our Hispanic learners. To improve education for them will take more than designing a better curriculum, implementing a better form of instruction, or instituting a better form of classroom management. We must ponder on what it means to truly care for each individual student as an individual...and then do it!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
"What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children," John Dewey declared. This includes children of color, children from different socioeconomic levels, children who don't speak English, and children from different cultures. In other words, both in society and within the shcool walls we must eliminate the term "those kids." "Those kids" must become "our kids."
Having this attitude will hopefully change views towards the curriculum, instruction, and learning goals. Being "colorblind" to children of different colors is not only insufficient but it is counter productive. For changes in curriculum, instruction, and learning goals to be most appropriate and most effective it is critical for educators to understand and incorporate the culture of their students of color in all aspects of the classroom and school.
According to Dr. Ron Edmunds, "We can, whenever and wherever we choose, successfully teach all children whose schooling is of interest to us. We already know more than we need to do that. Whether or not we do it must finally depend on how we feel about the fact that we haven't so far."
A school must be a learning community totally devoted and committed to the well-being and the successful learning of each child. In other words, a "family ethos" is created. Creating this kind of environment starts with a quality work environment being provided for the adults in the school--they must be treated in a loving and caring manner by the principal.
Caring is a must. If a school doesn't get this one right all other efforts to make a difference for our Hispanic learners will probably be futile. Caring must be the foundation.
Monday, September 6, 2010
The staggering statistic that only about 1/2 of our Hispanic learners are graduating from high school and only a small percentage are going to college let alone graduating from college is of deep concern. Yet, the statistics don't look very promising way before high school when Hispanics score much lower on assessments than their Anglo peers in elementary school.
While we discuss in future postings specific things we can do it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, Hispanic learners do not come to us as "empty slates." We need to look for their assets rather than focus on deficits which too many assessments tend to do. Second, research results from one context usually don't transfer over to another. In other words, what works for Anglo native English speakers won't necessarily be the answer for Hispanic learners. Third, it is important to remember that Hispanic learners are as different from each other as any other group of students. Each student has his/her own personal culture. Yet, the more we learn about the Hispanic culture in general while learning about students' individual cultures could give us clues on how to better serve our Hispanic learners.
The trick is to learn and understand what does work for children of color and for this blog, specifically what works for Hispanic students. We obviously know what isn’t working. Patricia Gándara says in her book, Over the Ivy Walls:
Our increased understanding of the factors that lead to failure has not appreciably diminished the rate of failure. Perhaps a better understanding of what leads to academic success will yield more fruitful outcomes…an important element missing from most research has been the insights which can be gained from an understanding of how students who don’t fail, in spite of adverse circumstances, manage to escape that fate (pp. xii, 9).
What we will explore and share on this blog is what we can learn from a variety of research sources as to what works for Hispanic learners.