Creating Caring and Culturally Responsive Classrooms for Students in Prekindergarten to Grade 3
- Articles, Blog

Creating Caring and Culturally Responsive Classrooms for Students in Prekindergarten to Grade 3

– [Fiona] Hello and
thank you for joining us for REL Northwest webinar
on creating caring and culturally responsive classrooms for students in prekindergarten
to grades three. We’d like to thank our three partners who helped us to spread the
word about today’s webinar. Thank you to the Children’s Institute here in Portland, Oregon, the Center for Enhancing
Early Learning Outcomes and the Northwest Comprehensive Center at Education Northwest. My name is Fiona Helsel. And it’s my pleasure to be
moderating today’s webinar. I am a manager, research and evaluation and a deputy director of REL Northwest at Education Northwest
in Portland, Oregon. With my colleagues here, I co-lead an early learning collaborative in Oregon for the regional
education laboratory and I direct some other
early learning projects at Education Northwest. Before we begin, there’s
just a few webinar logistics that we want to make sure
that you’re aware of. The audio for this webinar
can be heard online and by phone. If you have trouble with
the audio connection, please call the phone
number listed on this slide. And to view live captioning,
open the media viewer panel in the bottom right corner of the screen. I’d also like to share
some tips for participating in today’s webinar. To share an idea or comment, use the chat panel to
the right of the slides. Send in your message to all participants. If you don’t see the chat panel, click the speech bubble icon
in the upper right corner of the screen as shown on the slide. You can ask a question at
any time during the webinar by typing it into the Q&A panel
just below the chat panel. We’ll do our best to get to
as many questions as possible at the end of each presentation. And we’ll also be sure to
follow up after the webinar with answers to frequently
asked questions. If you’re viewing this
webinar on a smart phone or a tablet please note
that certain features will not be available. And for your reference
and for our colleagues unable to join to us for this webinar, all of the resources that
we mention will be posted on our page, on the REL Northwest website. Along with a recording of the webinar about four weeks from now. All of you who have registered
will receive an email once the files are posted. As I mentioned earlier, this
is a REL Northwest webinar. The goal for the REL program
is to build our stakeholder’s capacity to use data and evidence in every day decision making. We just want to ensure
that people are putting research into action. We do this in a number of ways. We conduct a conduct
five research studies. We offer training, coaching
and technical support and we provide learning opportunities such as this webinar today. We collaborate closely
with our stakeholders to understand the educational issues of regional and national importance. Today’s webinar on improving
early school experiences for children from diverse
racial and cultural backgrounds is one of those issues. REL Northwest is one of 10
regional educational laboratories in the country. The RELs program is funded by
US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. And our REL, REL Northwest, partners with stakeholders
in a five-state region, including Alaska, Idaho,
Montana, Oregon and Washington. And we’ve been working with stakeholders in this region since the
inception of the REL program in the 1960s. Before we get started, we’d like to get a
sense of who’s attending on today’s webinar. Thank you for everyone who has already put that into the chat
box, but we’d like to open up a poll question where you tell us what’s
your current job role. You should be seeing a question that’s come up that
you can click on the response to that question. All right, thank you very
much for answering that. It looks like we have people of all (chuckles)
different roles on the phone. We’ve got some preschool
teachers, assistant teachers, elementary school teachers, principals, assistant principals,
as well as some coaches, technical assistance providers,
district staff members and state education agency staff. Thanks for responding to that. Gives us a sense of who’s here. Here’s today agenda for the webinar. So following this introduction
Dr. Sharon Ritchie will present for two minutes
on using observation data to improve teaching practices. I’ll then facilitate a
10-minute Q and A with our panel before Dr. Ritchie presents on creating culturally responsive classrooms. Following (mumbles) facilitate a Q and A, we’ll wrap up the webinar. We have two goals for today’s webinar. So we would really like you to walk away from today’s
webinar having learned strategies for using classroom observation data to guide professional development efforts that can improve teaching practices in Pre-K through three classrooms. And we’d also like to
increase your understanding of culturally responsive practices that create caring and emotionally supportive
learning environments for students in grades
pre-K through third grade. And with that, I’m very excited to introduce our three speakers today. Dr. Sharon Ritchie is currently a senior research scientist at the Frank Porter Graham
Child Development Institute at the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her participation in
the field of education over the past 40 years have
included long experiences as a teacher, program director, teacher educator and researcher. Prior to her tenure at
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, she was at UCLA for 17 years. She ran the validation study for the NAEYC Early Childhood
Accreditation program and co-wrote the self-study materials for use by school and programs for children birth through age eight. She’s the author of two books and multiple research
and practice articles all in relation to improving the education and development of young children. For the past 12 years, she has been the Director of FirstSchool, a pre-K through three public
school reform initiative committed to improving
the school experiences of African Americans, Latino and low income children
and their families. Emily Glasgow is currently the principal of Lewis Elementary School in Portland public schools in Oregon. She has worked in urban public K schools for the past 20 years,
including as a teacher in Oakland, California, and as a teacher and principal
in Boston, Massachusetts. Emily is also a parent of
elementary aged-children in the Portland public schools and a doctoral student at Lewis and Clark, focusing her studies on
the social construction of whiteness, inclusion and exclusion, in public elementary schools. And, finally, Karen Murphy, who’s here with us in the
room today is currently the principal of Free
Orchards Elementary School in the Hillsboro School
District in Oregon. As a former kindergarten
and primary grade teacher, Karen has a strong background
in both early childhood and dual language education. She facilitated the transition
to full-day kindergarten for the Hillsboro School District and assisted in the
design and implementation of Hillsboro’s first
elementary-based preschool through a kindergarten innovation grant. So with a that, I’d like to
turn the presentation over to Dr. Ritchie. – [Sharon] Good afternoon,
or good morning, or you’re all from all over the place. I’ve been watching you all
signed in as you come in. So it’s lovely to have
people from so many places. The thing I’m gonna talk about first is really using data to
motivate change, inform professional development
and monitor progress. And you will take note that the word evaluation does not occur anywhere in there. So this is all about really making data part of a interesting conversations. Next slide. I don’t have, I don’t think
I have, control of this. Do I? (mumbling) Who has control of the slides? – [Fiona] Hi, Sharon, you
have control of the slides. Remember the arrows. – [Sharon] There we go, thank you so much. Okay, now we’re back. So what we’re gonna
talk about is this data is really about time. And the data we’re gonna look at has to do with pretty much
a six-and-a-half hour day. And over the course of a year,
kids have over 70,000 minutes in classrooms. And so we really wanna make
sure that those minutes are being used in the best possible way. This is a picture of the
app we use to gather data. In order to get the data
that you’re gonna look at, observers are going to look at each one of these 25 variables every single minute of the entire day and check off whichever ones applies to what’s happening to a child
or the children in the room during that minute. So it’s pretty exhaustive data that gives you, gives teachers, a real picture of what’s happening in classrooms for their kids. So our primary goal, as I talked about in the first slide, is really to do two things. And it’s, one, to promote
inquiry about data, to really be able to think
about it, talk about it, have it inform you, have it interest you, make you curious about what’s happening. And then the other main things
is to really respect teachers to know in our conversations with teachers that what teachers know, their
expertise, their context, is the most important
part of the conversation, because it is the teacher who
knows those children best. And nobody who works in our
project has not been a teacher. And so we totally understand
that point-of-view and promote it in all of our work. There’s no single set of right answers. As I said, it depends on context. So what we’re really looking for is a balance of experience
in some of the classrooms so that kids gets exposure
to a variety of content, which includes all aspects
of literacy and math, that they experience it in
different kinds of settings and that their teachers and
peers interact with them in a variety of ways so that there’s something different so that variety is really the key. Out of those 25 predictors
I showed you briefly, there are seven that
are the top predictors that research indicates
are the top predictors for positive third-grade outcomes. And so we’re particularly
gonna be looking at the data in terms of how much
small group instruction the children receive, the
amount of collaboration or time they have to work together. Or a language development,
which is really about teachers or adults in the classroom
eliciting meaningful conversation from kids, the actual
development of vocabulary, the just exposure to
math, to have a lot of scaffolded instruction and
to engage in metacognition and higher order thinking. So the way I’m gonna talk about this data is in terms of the kinds of conversations that data can generate. So here we’re looking
at the activity settings that kids usually experience
in Pre-K classrooms and the ones they usually
experience in K classrooms. And I think you can tell
right from the start that the dramatic difference is where they spend the
majority of their day. And so whereas children
in pre-K are spending 45% of their day in choice, where they’re having the
opportunity to negotiate materials and relationships and space, and where they’re
developing self-regulation and executive function that what happens all too often, as they move into kindergarten, is that it becomes a place
that is adult-directed, rather than child-directed. So one of the conversations that we have is what is that experience
like for a five-year-old who has one set of
expectations of what school is as they experience pre-K and
then anywhere from three days to two months later our finding themselves in a completely different setting with a completely different
set of expectations. And what does that mean for kids who are always talking
about making sure that kids can succeed. And it is usually our most vulnerable kids who have may have succeeded very nicely in a pre-K classroom under
much more adult-directed kinds of expectations
start to not do as well. Another discussion to have
is when I’m looking at 24% time where kids are
working on their own, which tends to be kids
working on journals, reading books and then
mostly working on worksheets. Then the question that I
wanna ask the teacher is, ’cause every percent
is worth four minutes, I’ll ask a teacher, “Can
children in your classroom “be in charge of their own learning “for 100 minutes a day? “Or 96 minutes a day?” So those are the kinds of things
that we like to talk about when we look at this data. I referred to self-regulation when we were looking at choice. And I think that we know that executive function and self-regulation is developed in the pre-frontal cortex. And when children are not
having the opportunity to self-regulate, to have
that regular practice that they were getting pre-K, then, in fact, their prefrontal cortexes are not developing. And we’re getting in the
way of a very important physiological change. And, you know, I so often talk to second and third-grade teachers
about doing more project work, having kids work together. And they just look at me and
they say they can’t do that. And I actually believe
them, because I think by doing the amount of adult control that usually takes place
in a whole group setting, we aren’t letting that
part of the brain develop. We really wanna make sure
that we have rich literacy all across the pre-K, three years. So you will see here that
two of the predictors, vocabulary and oral language, are part of this literacy graph. And so we talk to teachers
about what kinds of experiences kids are getting. So in this graph, we are, indeed, seeing that kids really did get
a chance to do all aspects of a balanced literacy curriculum. They were read to, they read on their own, they were asked comprehension questions, they did work with phonics and with site words. They helped develop new vocabulary, they spent time writing and they spent time with adults asking the meaningful questions. So the question is, are the things that you’re
choosing to do, is it enough? Is it enough that 60 minutes of the day is, out of the six-and-a-half hour day, is spent in meaningful
conversations with adults? And in this conversation, it’s like what gets in the way of that? And there’s lots of things
that get in the way of that? Certainly some of the district
demands and expectations often get in the way of us
being able to prioritize the kinds of things that
children need to do. We also really wanna
concentrate on developing the whole child. We always see a lot of
literacy in classrooms. There’s been so much
professional development and attention to literacy
over the last many years that we rarely see a lack of literacy. So here there’s a 164 minutes of literacy in the classroom and with
a math block being about 90 minutes long, you
can tell that literacy, you know, all kinds of literacy, is showing up over the course of the day. In this particular graph, we’re seeing about 88 minutes of math. And the math blocks tend to
be about 60 minutes long. So we are seeing some integration of math throughout the day. Very often that percentage is 15%, which is exactly an hour and
that math is math is math. And we don’t see it in
the rest of the day. And so that’s a conversation
that we have with teachers when we see that math is only
seen during the math block. We’ve been collecting this kind of data for about 25 years, primarily
in Title I classrooms all over the United States. And no matter what, science
is always the lowest. Right here, we’re seeing
about 20 minutes of science, which can show up in the books
that kids are being read to, it can show up in some of their
social studies curriculum. It has to do with the environment
and those kinds of things. It doesn’t necessarily have
to be a science experiment. But it still is the lowest. And it’s really interesting since we know how vitally interested kids are in science and how curious they are. And so it’s really
important, I think, overall, for people to pay more
attention to supporting teachers in the teaching of science. Gross motor here is
about 28 minutes a day, it includes, you know, whatever
happens in the classrooms, with brain breaks and
dancing and exercising as well as outdoor full body movement. You know, the brain
research really tells us that kids need an hour a day of gross motor. And one could hope that some of that is taking place after school. And certainly we know a lot of kids have sports opportunities, but we also know that many kids go home and sit in front of TVs and video games. And, really, if we’re not giving them that gross motor experience in school, then they may not be getting it. And we also know that the kids’ brains, or our brains, for that matter, are not really working unless
there’s oxygen in them. And that’s how it gets there. So attention to sort of getting away from the notion, the getting rid of recess improves test scores is a good way to go. We usually see a fair
amount of social studies. There’s 44 minutes here. And social studies for
us, in our definitions, also includes
social-emotional development, conflict development, some of
the things like Second Step. And then aesthetics is
music, art, drama, et cetera. So a really other important part of this, and we talked to teachers about this is if you’re not teaching
across the content areas, you also are not getting
at the rich vocabulary that’s inherent in making sure
that kids have an exposure to the larger world. Student learning approaches. Right here we have about 24
minutes of collaboration. And that’s kids getting to work together. We think about student voice, about kids having the opportunity to talk. And we saw on that other
slide, 15% of oral language, and you put that together
with 6% of collaboration, and you’re looking at
about a fifth of the day that it’s kids’ voices that
are what are emphasized. And so the conversation
is is that what really should be happening in classrooms? Is a fifth of the day
for the student’s voice to predominate enough? Metacognition, or the ability
to think about your thinking and talk about, we often
see start at a low level. This is about four minutes a day. And it means that there’s been, you know, about two metacognitive questions, maybe three, in the course of a day. But teachers, when we work with them, can really learn how to do this. And it is a matter of moving beyond the first open-ended
question to the second one, of “How did you know that? “How did you figure that out?” And teachers get excited about doing that and start asking kids more questions and engaging with them. So my biggest part of
FirstSchool is really about student voice. And you’ve heard me refer
to it multiple times. And it is because it is
true that you cannot have a relationship with a child without actually having conversations and discussions and finding
out about what they know and what they care about and who they are and what confuses them
about their identity, who they are culturally, racially, gender, so that they can start, by
articulating those thoughts, get a better idea of their own identity. Certainly it is a major form
of formative assessment. If we’re not asking kids
about what they’re learning, then how do we know how to
make the next best steps in helping them learn the next thing? The gradual release really
has to do with collaboration. And that, you know, all of
us are particularly good (chuckles) at the focus lesson. Heaven knows, I’m doing that right now. I’m telling you, I’m
giving you information, and then it usually goes to the next step that you work with kids to
have them do it together. And then it goes down to where, okay, now you go off and do it alone, leaving out this very important component of having the kids working on it together. We talked a little bit
about the importance of executive function. One of the main things
of executive function are learning to plan, learning to organize and learning how to entertain
the thoughts of others. And, (coughs) excuse me,
all of that is inherent in collaborative learning. We’re always seeking balance
in teaching approaches. Here we have about a quarter of the day where the teaching is scaffolded and about a third of the day
where it is more didactic or teachers provide information,
tell kids what to do, model them in strength. Both are enormously important, but it’s a balance that
we’re really looking for. This is approaching a balance, but even with this kind of difference, I will ask teachers, “It seems that you’re providing them “with a lot of information, “but how do you know what they heard “if you’re not asking them questions, “finding out what they know,
finding out what they heard?” So, bottom line, the one doing the talking is the one doing the learning. And so when we’ve got
only a fifth of the day where kids are the ones doing the talking, and we’re really wondering about who, in fact, is doing the learning. In the data, small changes
make a big difference. For every 3% change in
any of the variables that we talked about, totals out at five-and-a-half days a year. So if you have a 3% increase
of oral language development, kids are getting
five-and-a-half days more. If you have 5% more of gross motor, they’re getting 9.2 days. So it’s very motivating to teachers to know that the changes that they make based on their data actually has a strong impact on kids. And you don’t need data
to inquire into practice. Any of the people who
write observation measures, so that’s the class
and actors and EduSnap, and any number of
others, is that all of us have spent multiple decades thinking about the definition of quality. And so how do you take
those notions of quality that are part of those measures and make sure that they are
part of your conversations? That when you’re talking
about what’s good for kids, it’s thinking about quality indicators that really informs. And also I’ve given you some
research throughout this, there’s mountains more, but to genuinely use research
to guide your practice. And I think that wraps us up for that one. – [Fiona] Thank you, Dr. Ritchie. We are going to transition
into our second poll question. So you are gonna see a question
that you can respond to, where you answer true or false. We routinely use
classroom observation data to guide professional development efforts and engage in collaborative inquiry to improve teaching practices
in my school or agency. All right, well, it looks
like we’ve got a number of respondents that has… Responses that have come in, excuse me. And the majority are on this true, being true to the question. Thanks for responding to that. We’re now going to open up a
question and answer session for our panelists as well as questions that have been submitted
through the chat or the Q&A. I’m gonna start by
asking our two panelists, Karen and Emily, to ask
Sharon any questions you have about using classroom observation data. Either Karen or Emily, if you
have questions for Sharon, please go ahead. – [Karen] All right, this is Karen and, Dr. Ritchie, I’m
curious about the logic, the gis, excuse me, the
logistics of data collection for those practitioners who are working in early childhood settings. We want to avoid sit-down
one-on-one assessment that takes 15 minutes per child. Do you have any tips or
suggestions for collecting data that gives you the most
valuable information for your practice? – [Sharon] So I’m thinking
you’re talking about child data here, is that so? – [Karen] Yes. – [Sharon] So, you know, I
think that the big efforts, I certainly know in North Carolina and I believe in multiple other states, on making a genuine effort
to help teachers learn how to do formative assessment is what will change that. It is how do you naturally gather data in a systematic way in your classrooms? And it’s sort of a combination of where teachers do that all day long, teachers listen to their kids
and find out what they know and make decisions about
what they’re gonna do next. But how do you do it systematically? And so I know it is not an easy effort and I think we are up against
a huge climate of testing. But, to me, until we really make that real in pre-K to third grade classrooms, we’re gonna stay right where we are. – [Emily] And I would ask, this is Emily, along similar lines, but more
focused on the practice data, have you had success with having teachers or having somebody actually
time the way that time is used in the classroom and then
have teachers reflect on that? And have you used video
at all in that process to sort of engage, to build the curiosity
you’re talking about, and to start the inquiry
into people’s own practice? – [Sharon] So a lot of
teachers pick up like little mini research projects of their own to try and figure out, you know, like, “Well, how much time
did I read to my kids today?” “Or how much time did I
spend in small group?” Or we’ve seen a lot of improvement in terms of people being allowed to visit other people’s classrooms
and they do that for them. So there has been some small projects designed to do that. I love video reflection in one of our Race to the Top projects. One of our schools
shows some of the things from the data and people volunteered to video tape themselves and
they met on a weekly basis to say, “Well, what did I see? “What are the teachable moments? “What did I miss?” And when there is that volunteerism and that real interest
in improving practice those things can be vital. I think video tape is fantastic. – [Emily] Thanks. – [Fiona] I’m gonna go ahead
and ask a couple of questions that have come in through
from the participants. So one of the questions
is related to the slide where you showed that science was… There’s not a lot of time span on science consistently when you do observations in various classrooms. And the question is is that because teachers
don’t feel comfortable teaching science or is it
the result of something else? – [Sharon] Well, certainly
from my conversations with teachers, it is a
not feeling comfortable. And I think it also is a
feeling of lack of materials, lack of curriculum. Most schools in districts I work in don’t even have a science curriculum. So that makes it very tough. I did have, because we were working with some of our projects very hard in terms of having increased science, we have some wonderful people come in. And what they talked about,
before they did anything else, was people have this notion of “I don’t know anything
about physical science, “physics, chemistry. “How do I teach that?” And to say, you know what? Kids just wanna be curious
and they wanna ask questions. And it’s all right as a teacher to say, “You know what? “I don’t know how that works.” or “I don’t know where that came from.” or “I don’t know why that is.” And explore it together
and not enter into science with this belief that you
have to be the expert, but actually joining the
kids and their curiosity. – [Fiona] Great, thank you. Before I ask another question, I’ll see if Emily or
Karen has other questions. We’ve had questions
that’s come in, though. – [Karen] I am curious, the
conversation around science makes me wonder about
balancing and finding a balance between the standards that
our teachers are required to address and the notion
of a whole child approach. How do you prioritize the types of data that you collect to help structure lessons or units of study? – [Sharon] Mm, I don’t think
I know how to answer that, because this is the data that we collect. So I don’t have different data. You know, I think that, I’m not sure I’m gonna
be able to answer this, but I think the notion is
really think about how do you integrate things like the arts
an science and social studies into your literacy and into your math, into the areas where
you spend the most time. And do I think that that’s an easy answer? I don’t, but there is only
so much time in a day. So how do you take the things that really engage kids, that
really build their vocabulary, that allow them to
collaborate and work together, and how do you make sure
that more of that happens? – [Karen] Thank you. – [Emily] And I would just ask. I was a really struck by the
percentages of choice time between pre-K and kindergarten. And I’m curious, in your conversations with kindergarten teachers,
but what’s that about? Or why does that happen? – [Sharon] You know, I
think that the education, the philosophy of teachers who teach kids zero to five-years-old, they
come from a child development play, choice, kinda background, where the vast majority of
our kindergarten teachers are getting K-6, K-5 licenses,
where they are learning how to be teachers with
teachers who work with kids in the upper grades. And I think that the
notions of play and choice, a long time ago, got sort of thrown out because it was too much
of let the children play instead of a recognition
of the real intentionality, the brain research, the
real developmental markers that kids meet by having
a chance to engage in play and to engage in choice, but trying to have those
conversations across that pre-K, K-5 divide is hard. I think principals all
over making real effort to, if they haven’t gotten child
development background, to actually get one. But, you know, the kindergarten teachers are subject to the same
demands and expectations and kids come in who’ve had no school, who had a ton of school,
they had this huge range. So there are a million answers
to why that’s so complicated. – [Emily] Thanks. – [Fiona] Thank you. I’m gonna ask one final question that just came in through the chat and then we’ll move forward. Are you finding when teachers
are doing project-approach or project-based learning
there’s more balance in content areas and more
whole child emphasis? – [Sharon] Absolutely,
that is a easy answer. There’s more of (chuckles) lots of things. There’s more content,
there’s more collaboration, there’s more balance, absolutely. And we are seeing more and
more of the project base and certainly it shows up in a very positive way in the data. – [Fiona] Great, thank you very much. I’d like to remind people that we’re gathering more questions
than we’re able to answer during the webinar. And so when we post the webinar materials, in about four weeks, we’ll also answer some of the frequently asked questions. So hang tight, we will do our
best to get answers to you from Dr. Ritchie. And the other thing I
wanted to acknowledge is apparently our polls
close very quickly. Sorry for that, we will see
if we can problem solve that on our end and have it open
longer for the next question. With that, I’d like to turn
it back to Dr. Ritchie. – [Sharon] All right,
we’ll race through another incredibly important topic in 20 minutes. So we certainly want to work
on our cultural responsivity in our classrooms. And this is the reason. You know, all of you
have seen these faces. These are kids who, at a very young age, have already gotten too many
and too frequent messages that they don’t belong and
that they’re not valued. And we really have to think of
our work with young children as dropout prevention. Typically, it is our boys
of color who drop out and if we are not thinking about them in very important ways
right from the start, then those faces we just saw, instead of the one we’re looking at now are the kids who are done. They are done in first grade. They’re done in kindergarten
because of their experiences. And so this notion of
belonging and being welcomed and seeing themselves as smart, and seeing themselves as
people who belong in school is essential to changing the situation for our kids of color. We have so many reasons that
we have an achievement gap. We have gaps in instruction, where too often in our Title I schools and certainly leftover
from No Child Left Behind. We have a emphasis on
didactic instruction, on isolated skill building, on worksheets. And we saw from 15 years
of No Child Left Behind that kids did well on
their third grade test, but after that fell apart,
because there was no chance to think, no chance to apply knowledge, it was just gathering
things in small increments. We have gaps in caring, if
you look at your disciplines, your referrals, the kids
that get pulled out, the kids that are turning in their cards and missing the ice cream parties, and having their grandmothers call. It’s like who are those kids? Those kids get subject
to those microaggressions day after day, after day. Access to the larger world, to the things we talked about in terms of content for the whole child if we’re not giving them
science and social studies and the arts so often. That’s the only place they’re gonna get it is in school. Lack of relevance to their
lives and the materials and the things that they see around them. So there’s just so many
reasons that we have an achievement gap. In order for kids, all kids, to be able, to be motivated
and be ready to learn, they need three things. And, in fact, you all
need these things, too. You need to connect with others. You need to feel successful and you need to feel that
you can make things happen, that you have an affect
on your environment. And just maintaining the
notion of these ideas for kids in your classrooms, kids in your schools, kids of teachers of who you’re coaching, you have a variety of roles out there, is to maintain these notions, because when kids are
feeling connected, successful and autonomous, then they are calm and they are ready to learn. And when they’re not
experiencing those things, what they are experiencing is fight or flight. So we know how important
the early years are. And what’s particularly important is that these notions of how
you’re going to do in school form very early. And they are stable and
difficult to change. So if you’re a child who comes into school with a lot of success,
a lot of connections, a lot of autonomy, feeling
valued and belonging, well, you are in very, very good shape. But if you are a child who
looks like some of the children we looked at in the earlier slide, then turning that around
is enormously difficult. Again, this whole, you
know, today is all about our young learners and how
vital and important it is to make sure that they got
off to a really good start. So for school, when we were
first organizing ourselves, we really had to come up with ways of working with schools, with
teachers, with districts, and not overwhelming them. And we did a real dive into the research looking for the instructional practices that really made a difference
for kids who come from poverty and kids of color. And so all of these
are essential for kids. It isn’t that you can
just pick a few of them, but it is the actual
combination of all of these that make a real difference for kids. When we found the 10, we didn’t know they were gonna fall
out into these sort of culture of caring, culture of competence and culture of excellence. And there is a bit of a hierarchy of that. Because, in fact, if kids are not feeling cared for,
then in fact nothing else is gonna happen for them. We have mountains and mountains
and mountains of research that said until kids have a
trusting, positive relationship with their teacher, they are
not gonna be ready to learn. So I think it’s essential
as we’re thinking about culturally competent and
responsive classrooms is that we really have to think about a strength-based approach. And one of those strength-based approaches is the use of oral narrative. And this has found to be
particularly important for African American students. If we think about the legacy of slavery and the fact that you could be killed for learning how to read and write, oral narrative was the way to carry their history and their
lives to one another. So it comes from a very powerful place. So how do you weave oral narrative where you’re really doing storytelling and have kids talking about
stories they’ve made up, about real stories. Boston public schools have done a particularly wonderful job with this. Their kindergarten and
first grade classrooms require a half hour of storytelling a day within their curriculum. Hop on their website,
there’s some fantastic videos of kids dictating their stories, working closely with teachers, parents, the effect on parents, kids in classrooms working with other kids
to act their stories out. It’s enormously positive. We also really want to be able
to think about collectivism. So about 90% of the world operates from a collectivist point-of-view, which values interdependence,
group success, whereas as the vast majority
of the dominant culture of the United States operates
from an individualist point-of-view, which is much more about working on your own,
succeeding, competition, those kinds of things. And we know, especially
in early childhood, that our workforce is made
up of some huge percentage of white women, and who
are certainly carrying their own experiences and
the things they believe into the classroom, without
necessarily thinking about that. When kids are in school,
and we have lots of kids of color who are in our schools, and they’re not seeing
what’s familiar to them in their homes, in their
churches, in their communities, then it sends a not-so-subtle message that what’s important in their families is not what’s valued in schools. And so you’re sending messages
that it’s not as good, even though it’s not on purpose, and also not allowing
kids to be in settings where they succeed best. And so, of course, that’s the second one that African American and Latino students, prefer and do better
in learning experiences where they can work with others, you know, hence our data on collaboration, of how do you work with others. And I’ll go back and remind
you of executive function and planning and organizing
and all the great stuff beyond what I’m talking
about here that go with that. And then that intentional
development of metacognition of really talking about how
you figured something out. I had a kindergarten teacher
who was working very hard to improve that aspect
of his data and did so. And he was really up in asking something like 27, 28
metacognitive questions a day. And he said, “Now if I don’t ask them, “they say to me, ‘Don’t you
wanna know how I knew that?'” And so that’s what we really wanna see and hear is are these kids
who are vitally interested in their own learning and
wanting to talk about it. And I think that this is
such an important notion, the soft bigotry of low expectations of what does it really
mean when we don’t expect a lot from kids? What are we really saying? And it comes from some
places of excusing kids from achieving because they come from difficult circumstances. I know, as a teacher educator, that I had so many teachers
coming with a genuine belief that they were there to sort
of save the poor children. And coming into education,
being sympathetic, and feeling sorry for
people does not promote the kinds of high expectations
that kids really need. I told you earlier sort of that story of teachers saying that kids
couldn’t do the projects. I think that that applies way too often to kids of color, that there’s this feeling
that they need to have orders and rules and that they
must be tamped down. And there’s a lot of conversations that need to happen about
where that kind of thing really comes from and what kind of harm it causes our kids of color. So I have noticed for
years, and years and years, and you probably have, too, that teachers can be endlessly patient in terms of teaching kids
how to write their name, how to count, their multiplication tables, how to punctuate a paragraph. You know, teachers will
come ups with multiple ways of helping kids. They’ll try again and again. And, yet, when it comes to sitting on the rug, standing in line, washing your hands, et cetera, et cetera, those kinds of things,
instead of being things you should teach, becomes
objects of discipline, where you get in trouble
for squirming on the rug, you get in trouble, for not
keeping your hands to yourself when you’re in line,
where the expectations are “Because I said so, you shouldn’t do it.” Instead of the notion of,
“Oh, these kids don’t know how “to do this, yet, so what
can I do to help them teach.” And I think that we
would go a huge distance in terms, particularly
of our kids of color, of changing the whole tone
and culture of classrooms if we came to this notion
that it’s all those things that need to be taught. We talk to teachers a lot about behavior kinds of charts, et cetera. And really struggle with behavior charts, because so often it is kids of, well, for lots of reasons,
for one of the reasons, that it is often to the
detriment of kids of color that I can sit in classrooms everywhere and watch who it is
that’s turning their cards and missing the ice cream parties and sort of subject to threats and bribes. But we also know that it’s difficult to just stop doing behavior charts. We also know that we
have all kinds of things, like PDIS, et cetera,
that schools have to use. And so my question about that is, you know, no, you
don’t just dump everything out the window and start all over again. But what you really do is that you start thinking about what it is
that we’re trying to do with those programs. And, for the most part, what
I think we’re trying to do is develop intrinsic motivation. So that no matter where you are, if you’re starting at a
place where kids need the, you know, where they need the charts, and teachers need those,
then you’re staring there. But I think we, too often, just think, well, that’s what we do. We don’t try and move anywhere,
we don’t try and change. We don’t try and say, “Well, some of the kids need this, “but a lot of the kids don’t.” So how are we constantly moving towards intrinsic motivation? So at first we have where
it’s an adult-centered kind of setup that has
to do with individuals. And then as we move up, that it actually is functions
to reward the group. So that’s a step up, where it’s not just about the individual, but it is about us working together. And then, finally, where
you’re getting away from the threats and bribes all together, but that no one’s in trouble, that logical support’s in place and growth mindset’s in place, and then finally that notion
of a real school community, classroom community, where
the kids come to understand none of succeeds unless all of us succeed. And I will tell you that I see classrooms on every single one of those levels. So it is a matter of
always moving our kids towards intrinsic motivation. And this goes back to this
notion of the soft bigotry of low expectation of
how do we really work with kids in our classrooms where the message is always: I can succeed, ability grows with effort, that you belong in that community and that the work is valuable. And if you have not been
readers of Zaretta Hammond, I suggest that you find
any number of articles and books that she’s provided. She’s excellent. So I think the questions to keep in mind, and there’s a lot of them, is really what are you
doing as an individual, as a coach, a principal, a
teacher, a whole district, a school community, is what are you genuinely doing to honor the lives of the children and families and communities you serve? What are you doing to ensure, what are you actually doing in classrooms, to ensure that children are
independent and collaborative? To pay attention to voice and make sure they’re honored and valued. And I go back to that
21% we saw in the data. It’s a fifth of the day really honoring who kids are and what they had to say to make sure that kids feel
like they can take a risk, that they’re safe, that
there’s a growth mindset, that we’re having kids work together in meaningful ways to
smooth transitions for kids on their behalf for their success, and then to value oral
narrative, dictation, storytelling and sharing. So those would be a nice
set of questions to work on, but even one of them would be to terrific. So I saw this recently from an interview with Mr. Rogers. And I just thought that it
fits so well with this is, “I would hate to have
a child feel excluded “from the neighborhood by
something I had done or said.” And so being very careful about the things that we, as adults do and say, as well as the other children that are around one another. So we have written a book. And should you want more
information on this, certainly that’s out there for you. And this is my email. And I am done with this section. – [Fiona] We are going to open up a third poll question. Hopefully it will be
open long enough for you to respond this time. So we’d like to find out from participants how confident are you in your ability to use a strengths-based approach to teaching children of color? And you’ll see three options
there for you to respond to. Okay, thank you. Hopefully that was working
(chuckles) better this time with the amount of time
for you to respond. So we’re about equal, well, we’ve got more of our respondents responding A and B, I’m very confident in my ability to use a
strength-based approach. And I have attended
professional development on using a strength-based
approach, but need more practice. And then a smaller number of respondents for option C around needing
professional development and practice opportunities. I would like to turn it now
over to our two panelists, Emily and Karen to find out if you have any
questions for Dr. Ritchie. – [Karen] Sure, this is Karen. (chuckles) I am curious what we can do to promote
the role of parents as partners in implementing
culturally relevant practice in our early childhood classrooms. – [Sharon] Well, I think the
very starting place, of course, is making sure that they
feel welcome in the school. I talked about the sort of the messages that are provided by
a more individualistic rather than collective
viewpoint as being a message. And we have principals and
teachers do school and classroom walkthroughs where they’re really looking at who’s on the wall,
who’s in the bookcase. Like what is the message about? Who is valued here? Who belongs here? So I think that’s a starting place. And I think, you know, Karen,
I’m probably not saying one thing you don’t know, but you know, like really bringing
people into the classroom in real ways to talk about
their culture and their lives and their families and the things they do. And, of course, we always
wanna move past the food part. (Karen laughs) So will not say that family stuff is my particular strong suit. So those are some starters. – [Emily] Dr. Ritchie, this is Emily. So I would say like I’ve
grappled for a long time as a principal with how to
help teachers and parents think differently about
this issue of punishment and thinking about teaching behaviors versus punishing
behaviors, especially with really young children. And I’m just curious what
you think the entry point for that conversation are. And I’ve learned that it’s
a pretty entrenched thing, this belief in punishment (chuckles) of– – [Sharon] It is! (laughs) – [Emily] How do you help people think about that differently or start to shift there? – [Sharon] Well, you know,
most of the work that we do are in these very long term projects, three and four years, where we’re getting to
spend time with schools. So I think right away
that moves us into a place where we’re not feeling like
it’s something we have to solve in one second. ‘Cause I think it’s hard. And as a principal, obviously, you’re not thinking that either. It is this promotion of a culture of care, of really figuring out
what does that really mean? We say we care about our kids, but what does that really mean? What does it look like? You say you’ve been trying
to do this for years. (chuckles) I am stuck trying to imagine in the 30 seconds of telling you one thing that you haven’t figured out. – [Emily] Your perspectives
are always helpful. (laughs) – [Sharon] (laughs) I think
that first conversation, you know that little stair step picture of really thinking about
intrinsic motivation. Isn’t that what we want from kids? Is for them to be in charge of themselves. It’s the same as self-regulation. Isn’t this in the end
what we want from kids? So what is it that we can do that help us move in that direction? And so if you have
teachers, even some who, you know, like I’m ion teacher’s
classrooms all the time who have the card system up. And I walk in and you know
the table at three points, you know, et cetera, et cetera. And I can watch it’s
like you don’t need this. Your kids like you. You have relationships with your kids. How do you let go of this
and just sort of move up to the next level and say, or are there eight kids that are ready to move up? So sort of a slower kind of thing. But that notion of teaching
instead of punishing is a tough one. – [Emily] Mm-hm, thanks. – [Fiona] Thanks very much. So I’m gonna ask a question
that’s been submitted from a participant. One of the question is
even though the research supports purposeful play, why are classrooms not
seeing improved test scores? – [Sharon] Oh, I’m trying
to understand that question. So the research is set, read
it to me again, will you? – [Fiona] (chuckles) So even
though the research supports purposeful play, why are
classrooms not seeing improved test scores? So that would be saying that we are having purposeful play and then why
are we not seeing test scores that are with that? Is that? – Yes.
– So I think it’s a matter of whether purposeful play is actually giving us the kinds, improvement in the kinds of questions
that tests ask for. And so is it that we totally wanna know exactly how many words kids
know how many they can decode, how high they can count, then purposeful play is
probably not getting us there. But if we’re in the larger thing of developing self-regulation,
executive function, 21st Century skills, persistence, then the tests aren’t giving us that. So I think we’re at cross purposes with each other on that. – [Fiona] Great, thanks very much. I just checked in with Karen to find out if she had a question. I’m gonna ask Emily, do you
have any more questions? ‘Cause if not, I will ask another
one from our participants. – [Emily] I have loads of questions. I would love to ask another one.
(Fiona laughs) – [Fiona] Yes, there
are a lot of questions. – [Emily] Yeah, well,
I love the relatedness throughout that entire autonomy slide, as three universal needs. And I think those are things we say to teachers a lot. And teachers know these
are important things. What would say are some
of the small moves, small strategies, like every day things that teachers do in classrooms
that build these things? ‘Cause I think that’s what’s really hard is operationalizing these big themes that we know are important. – [Sharon] I think one of the big things, and this goes back to many, many years ago when we did, indeed,
have the first six weeks to develop community in the classroom, where kids felt competent, they knew where to find things, they knew what to do
if they had a problem. They started to know their
classmates and their teachers that there was such an
emphasis put on that so that classrooms were
already set up for that. We have had… We worked for years and years in the Lansing School District. And, actually, on a pre-K
through 12th grade project. And they actually put in
for the first week of school that they spent, you know, and this goes all the way to 12th grade so it’s a very big deal. A half an hour developing community where they really saw. okay, we really have to have people feel like they know each other and they’re competent and
that they can affect things. And so I do think that
that paying attention, the development of community, is huge in at least getting that started. – [Fiona] Great, thank you, Dr. Ritchie. I’m gonna ask one more question since we have a couple minutes. So how is a strength-based
approach different from our similar to an
evidence-based approach, in your opinion. – [Sharon] Well, strength-based is an evidence based approach. But it really does refer to the strengths of kids of color. I mean, that’s where that
literature comes form is the strengths of diverse populations. So it isn’t without evidence. It just is about, you know, what if we paid attention to the strengths of our diverse populations and drop them into our teaching practices. – [Fiona] Great, thank you very much. I’m gonna just look to our two panelists. Make sure there’s no burning question that you’d like to ask
before we transition into the final slide. – [Emily] Okay, well, one
other question I’d ask is what your thoughts
are about the various kind of social-emotional
learning curricula that schools are using
really frequently now, like those of regulation,
or things like that, versus sort of just integrating this stuff throughout the day. – [Sharon] Well, I’ll tell you that my own personal preference is
the integration of it throughout the day. But not everybody feels
comfortable doing that. And so the curriculums are
certainly a good start. They get things underway. It’s just a matter of trying to makes sure that some of the ideas that are presented in those lessons don’t
just get relegated to 10:30 on Tuesday morning. But our rather things that get applied, that get referenced over the course, you know, if they’re gonna
talk about friendship and something happens on the yard, or something happens while
kids are working together, that you go back to it. And it’s like to use those
curriculums as a base so that they don’t just end up being, “Okay, I did that.” Check, check. – [Emily] Right. – [Fiona] Great, thank
you very much with that. I would like to thanks Dr. Ritchie as well as Emily Glasgow and Karen Murphy for joining us as our panelists
and our keynote presenter. And thank you for everyone who
participated on the weinbar. We rally appreciate your
participation and questions. We would very much appreciate if you could complete the feedback survey at the link that is listed
on your screen right now. We will also send this link out to everybody after the webinar. We’ve had a few questions about whether we could
share the PowerPoint slides earlier than the recording. And we will do that. The recording takes a little
longer to put together, but we’re happy to
share the slides earlier with everyone who registered. So look for that in your inbox. The only other thing I would mention before wrapping up is that we will do our best to look at
all of the questions that were submitted throughout the webinar and send answers to some of
the frequently asked questions that were submitted, since we were not able to cover everything in the webinar. With that, thank you
very much for attending. And enjoy the rest of your day.

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *