"Relevance in Instruction"

Closing the Achievement Gap, Chapter 6

What is Relevance in Instruction?

You cannot effectively teach and inspire students if you do not take into account who they are historically and culturally.

[Does anyone want to add to this definition? (1 Minute)]

Chapter Reflection Questions...

  1. Do I realize who they are?
  2. Do they realize who they are?
  3. Do I see any significance in them learning “their story?”
  4. Do they see any significance in learning “their story?”
  5. Do I have a responsibility to teach them “their story?”
  6. Do they have a responsibility to learn “their story?”
  7. Do my lessons take “their story” into consideration?
  8. Do they identify with and relate to what I teach them?
  9. Will knowing “their story” impact the way they see themselves?
  10. Will knowing “their story” impact the way I see them?

[Before you read Ch. 6, the author encouraged you to reflect on these questions. As teachers, we may all be in differest stages of how well we know our students. Share which questions you felt were difficult to answer. (1 minute)]

How do we make our instruction relevant?

Educators must expose themselves to literature and professional development that specifically addresses their students’ learning, cultural and social-emotional needs…teaching and learning must be culturally-responsive.

Examine GCHS demographics (IIRC, 2014-15):

Low-Income (37%)

English Learners (2%)

Disabilities (11%)

White (68.4%)

Black (4.3%)

Hispanic (19.4%)

Asian (4.5%)

American Indian (0.2%)

Two or More Races (2.9%)

Pacific Islander (0.3%)

[Based on these statistics, what learning, cultural, and socio-emotional needs are our students likely to experience? (3 minutes)]

Break out research groups... "Dozen Summaries"

[Break into groups of 4-5, investigate the links below with your group. Discuss what you are learning. Your small group should be prepared to provide a 12 word (yes, exactly a DOZEN words) summary of what you learned from your link. (10 minutes)]

Overall Take away...

•How climate and culture shape attitude is the theme of the text.

•Feeling sorry for students is not going to help them out of their situation. Students do not need our sympathy. Students need our inspiration and encouragement to change their realities for the better. We must therefore continue to hold students accountable for nothing less than excellence.

•We need to make it a priority to ensure a welcoming climate and culture for the sake of your students' academic success.

•Because poverty is a variable that we cannot do anything about, our energy must be devoted to those areas where we have absolute control--the climate and culture of the classroom.

•How can we expect students to perform at optimal levels if we lack the belief that they can do so?

•Students have to know what excellence is in your classroom if they are going to strive to attain it.

•Lessons should be culturally relevant, responsive, and sensitive for all learners.

You must possess the knowledge of your students' culture, prior experiences, frames of reference, and performance styles to make learning more relevant to and effective for them.

Your lessons should teach to and through strengths of your students. Your lessons must be culturally validating and affirming!

[Review points from the book as a whole group (1 Minute)]