reThink ELA #021: Building School Culture: Observe Your Students to Learn How To Teach Them

How often do you think about the culture of your school, or even your classroom? Is it a place where different opinions are welcome? Or do your students feel like they need to tailor their assignments to please your viewpoint?

Andre Daughty has spent many years of his career teaching teachers and administrators about how important the culture of their school is to learning. Yes, we want a safe space free of weapons and violence but do you go further to connect with your students and to notice their gifts?

Once example given in this conversation is how a teacher's comment of a student "talking too much" is often seen as a bag thing. Of course, there's a time and a place for focusing and students shouldn't be distracting from the lesson; but think of how a teacher can treat that gift of gab as a strength rather than a weakness. This student might be a born student council president or debate club star. They might also be a storyteller-in-the-making who needs some help directing those conversations onto paper.

Andre is also a firm believer in using your own experiences to personalize your writing. He credits his career in education with being a member of the band in school where he was allowed to express himself through music. Now he encourages students to use their own life experiences or slang in their writing to make the piece more relatable to their audience outside the classroom.

reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA #021: Building School Culture: Observe Your Students to Learn How To Teach Them
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Related topics: Andre Daughty, Podcast

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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