A student's living situation does have an impact on student learning. Although many teachers feel that we have little control over what happens at home or how home life affects students, we can help students to understand how, where, and with who they learn best. We can also help students to build emotional and social skills to help them engage in meaningful discussions with those who may disagree with them both at school and outside of the school setting.
Become a Culturally Sensitive Educator- As educators, we must understand our students, their families, cultures, and/or religion. This will help us to understand how to best support their learning in the classroom as well as how their living situation might influence their learning and reflections! Briggs, 2014 identified traits of a culturally sensitive educator. I have reflected on these traits and found that it is important for educators to be knowledgeable of how:
- Culture influences Understanding
- Culture Influences Meaning
- Culture Influences Perception
- Culture Influences Personal Growth
- Culture Influences Experience
Character Circles/Morning meetings/Listening Circles- Teachers should make it a priority to frequently check in and monitor the lives of groups. There are many times when students need to be heard. The teacher needs to be consistently working to ensure that students feel safe to express their ideas and feelings. Block, 2017 confirms that creating timely opportunities for students to express themselves is one way to check-in with students; showing them that they are valued and their thoughts and feelings are respected!
Letting Students Succeed as Themselves- Block, 2017 has taught me the importance of prioritizing student voices as a way to support the being true to themselves. He reminds us that when teachers move from the front of the classroom and encourage students to be the primary thinkers in the classroom, the dynamics of learning change and center on the responses and ideas of students.