The Language of Struggle

in Search of Hope for Teachers

Dr. Renita Schmidt & Dr. Kathy Whitmore

Both did research involving how teachers navigate the complexities of meeting their students needs while attending to policies that require high test scores. Their studies focused on teachers of ELLs and how they attend to their literacy needs.

The Division

There is a chasm between students’ needs and policy requirements. Dr. Whitmore and Dr. Schmidt found that in the political realm of literacy there is a lot of accountability for students and teachers in the testing world and pressure to teach to the test. Legislatures don’t always understand what it is that teachers do to find out what their students know and what they need to learn. This created some issues and difficulties with teachers that are choosing what methods and materials to use in their classroom.

Differentiated Instruction

When teachers are mandated to use reduced cirriculum that is provided for them it does not relate to their students and it is not forward thinking. Teachers must provide a wide variety of materials to reach all of their students.

Teachers should...

1. Know their students! Everything that you know about your students is going to make you able to better provide curriculum and lesson plans that will satisfy their needs.

2. Articulate your positions more clearly and communicate with administrators, parents, and legislatures so they begin to see how we make decisions about materials and methods used in the classroom.

Parents Should...

1. Form a good relationship with your child's teacher

2. Be there to advocate for your child

Policy Makers Should...

1. Remember that teachers are professionals

2. Understand the need to differentiate instruction to reach all learners