Hear physics teacher Lisa describe the various needs her students come in with and how she meets those needs:
As an English language learner herself, Flavia understands and explains how collaboration is impacted by language fluency:
Maya is a social studies teacher at a mid-sized urban school with a new focus on student wellness. Listen to how they authentically support students.
Rebeca is the guidance lead at a small urban school. Hear her perspective on growth mindset as it relates to both students and teachers.
When students have unmet needs, lack of language fluency, and/or learning disabilities, their access to deeper learning can be greatly impacted.
We learned from teachers that many of their students have challenging home lives and basic needs that are unmet, making it difficult for them to focus and succeed academically. Some experience instability and violence within their homes or communities. One principal from a small urban school said, “If a student watched her neighbor get stabbed yesterday, she can’t just sit down to do 24 math problems. We need to first talk about what happened, and then maybe do 2 math problems.” She told us about how students’ willingness to collaborate with others is impacted by their of trust of others. If students have learned that they can only rely on themselves, collaboration is an extremely complicated concept and practice. The deeper learning competency of an “Academic Mindset” is deeply psychological in nature and not all students have received the same emotional support or equally experienced the relevance in schoolwork.
Providing social-emotional support and making time to develop authentic relationships with students creates an environment that can enable deeper learning.
Crucial to enabling collaboration among students is creating an environment of trust. However, facilitating relationships with and among students takes significant time, consistency, and an educator’s emotional investment. For instance, one teacher at a large urban school said he needed two years with the same group of students to build rapport and a classroom that is willing to “go with” him on out-of-the-box assignments or activities. In terms of developing students’ academic mindsets, teachers we spoke with described situations where they worked to create relatable content and environments of authentic support for their students’ emotional needs and cultural identities.