The morning started like this:
- What am I most grateful for in my life?
- What am I most looking forward to right now?
- What miracles will I create today?
Three simple questions; several collaborative answers…such was the start to a powerful day of intense conversation. The topic? Teaching With Poverty In Mind. Led by Eric Jensen, veteran educator and leading brain expert, our group of educators looked at these particular points:
- What is poverty and how does it affect learners in our schools?
- What drives change both within schools and inside a student’s brain?
- What effective strategies create best practices to replicate in our school?
- How do we engage the necessary resources (people and materials) to make this change happen?
“Poverty is not a culture, but a chronic condition affecting the mind, body, and soul resulting from multiple adverse risk factors” (Eric Jensen). Too often we talk about change while maintaining a culture of excuses; we must do better because our learners are counting on us! There is no magic bullet to offset the challenges faced daily by our disadvantaged students, but we can shine a spotlight on what matters most: enriching the minds and lives of all our students everyday.
Dr. Jensen talked at length about brain research and its effect on all learners. For example, neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells, improves cognitive performance, elevates moods (less anger and stress), and enhances memory—all things we can increase (or decrease) by how we teach and how our school is run everyday. Teachers and parents can truly affect learner outcomes by focusing on four key elements:
- Effort (building relationships, setting goals, and providing feedback),
- Attitude (giving hope with a growth mindset and optimism),
- Behavior (teaching social skills, interdependence, and accountability), and
- Capacity (perfect practice and executive function skills).
We will continue to have these powerful reflective conversations about our actions in our classrooms. We invite you to join in our conversations! For now, my hair hurts, so it’s time to support my own well-being with a power walk. 🙂
Note: Don’t forget to join us for our PTO Trunk or Treat Family Event on Thursday, Oct. 24th in the front parking lot from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Book Fair will also be open during the evening; see you there!