reThink ELA #016: Understanding the Needs of Military Students in Your ELA Classroom

Jennie Hanna Military Podcast Episode

A large part of gaining the trust of a classroom full of students is to get to know them on a personal basis. Yes, it's difficult when you have a hundred or so students parading through your classroom on a daily basis; however, taking an interest in their lives leads to real, authentic learning.

So, let me ask you: Do you know which of your students are military kids? Unless they tell you directly, chances are they are dealing with uncertainty and stress by themselves.

And since we're being honest... has this question ever crossed your mind? No judgement here. Knowing about a military family and lifestyle is just as important as knowing about a household with food insecurity.  When we can understand and empathize with our students, our teaching captures their attention and they feel that trust grow. 

My guest today is Dr. Jennie Hanna, the author of Forgotten Conscripts: Understanding the Needs of Military-Connected Adolescents. She has also held several titles within the military culture: military brat, soldier, Army wife, Air Force mom, and educator to hundreds of military-connected adolescents.

Dr. Hanna earned her Ph.D. in secondary education from the University of Oklahoma in 2018. While conducting her research, she realized that there was a huge gap after the age of 12 where no one was asking pre-teens about military life and/or their worries about the military culture.  Jennie argues that we won't know what these kids are thinking or feeling unless we ask them.

Resources from this episode

Essential Question: How can you learn more, and adjust your teaching based on what you find out, about your military students who may be very private about their background?

reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA #016: Understanding the Needs of Military Students in Your ELA Classroom
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About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

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