I was basically born in the classroom. When you’ve visited as many classrooms as I have, you begin to notice all the lingo used to create community. There are the clapping patterns and handshakes that act as a secret code for only the insiders. And community titles, like friends, peeps, amigos, scholars, leaders, fellows, and family to signify that there’s a sense of togetherness.
Yet, with my experience, I’ve also learned how to quickly assess the authenticity of these classroom communities; in hopes of confirming that the friendship titles, secret handshakes, and smiles bunched together on a rug are in fact evidence of a strong purpose-driven, learner-teacher relationship.
The question is: Have the teacher’s relationships with learners informed their ability to teach at high levels and increase the rigor and relevance of any and all lessons?
All too often, the answer to that question is NO. No, the teacher-learner relationship does not extend beyond a surface level, and there isn’t evidence of the relationship having an impact on the teacher’s skill set in ways that build in more rigorous and relevant lessons and result in increased engagement and performance.
Without rigor and relevance at the center of every—single—lesson, pre-packaged materials, and curricula are left to do all the teaching! And there’s more than enough evidence to confirm that a one-size-fits-all curriculum has yet to do the trick— especially, given the persistent achievement gaps that remain within our Black and Brown populations. Educators who build strong relationships in their classrooms— purposefully and thoughtfully getting to know their learners, their culture, and their home communities— are more likely to design learning that everyone can access, connect to, and apply in and outside of the classroom space.
YES! Isn’t that what we ALL want? Grab my FREE Vibe with 5 Rigor and Relevance Toolkit NOW. It will help you and your teams easily understand how engagement works. This toolkit gives high leverage strategies, action steps, and reflection space to help you use your learners’ cultural capital in ways that create a trusting community that accelerates achievement.
Thanks for being here!