Title

Culturally Responsive Instruction: Accelerating Academics Through Student Engagement

Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Culturally responsive instruction relates to the social and emotional skills educators must have to maintain a positive social climate that is conducive to learning. Students from all backgrounds face challenges that school leaders who are appropriately trained can help them overcome. Educators will learn strategies to create a caring curriculum and motivate students to learn. Cooperative learning strategies are modeled throughout the session. The participants will experience the type of community and support they will need to provide in their classrooms and schools as their students build communication skills and emotional intelligence. When students’ identities are acknowledged and verified, they develop a positive sense of self that can empower them to achieve academically and prepare for college and career readiness.

Brief Program Description

This session considers communication, classroom management and instructional strategies that are intellectually rigorous and engaging for easy classroom implementation to help all students learn. Participants will learn easy to apply approaches that engage students and help make learning connections to their real life experiences.

Summary

In an effort to close the achievement gap among minority students and their peers, Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida created The Minority Achievement Office (MAO). The MAO formed the Behavior Leadership Consortia with behavior teams consisting of a behavior administrator and one guidance counselor from each of the participating schools from our five learning communities whose objective is to reduce the number of out of school suspensions in their schools. A key component to engaging students and building a school climate conducive to learning is developing relationships with the students. To that end, the MAO provides Culturally Responsive Instruction training for all educators. Culturally responsive instruction is about respecting the comprehensive experiences and knowledge students bring to the classroom to jumpstart topic comprehension and facilitate learning. When we take into consideration that students do not enter school as empty vessels and acknowledge the background information they bring to the teaching and learning process, we open the door for rich conversations and deeper understanding of the content. Embedding students’ prior learning and cultural experiences in the content will increase efficacy, motivation, and academic achievement. Participants will gain understanding of culturally responsive instruction by participating in activities that they can easily implement in the classroom. For our first activity, participants will review cultural identity memberships and reflect on their myriad of memberships. We will also explore cultural biases that can interfere with building relationships and trust in the classroom, which are necessary to advance student learning. Because speech and the written word are the prominent conduits educators use to communicate ideas, we will learn strategies that improve classroom management and instructional engagement as well as examine barriers in communication between teachers and students that can hinder students from participating in the curriculum.

Evidence

The presentation is based on the work of Dr. Gholnecsar E. Muhammad and the book, Dream-keepers, written by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings. Prior to proving the Culturally Responsive Instruction training district-wide, it was offered to the schools within the Behavior Leaders Consortia which focused on reducing out-of-school suspensions in order to increase academic seat time. Data from the 2013-2014 school year illustrates a 31% reduction of out-of-school suspensions for our Black and Hispanic students.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Nancy Charles is a district resource teacher in the Minority Achievement Office in Orange County Public Schools, Florida —the 10th largest school district in the nation. Nancy has worked as an educator for over 20 years in many different areas: classroom teacher, parent liaison, literacy coach and instructional coach. Nancy has taught History, Language Arts, and French. In addition, Nancy has conducted district professional development on culturally responsive instruction and ESOL endorsement courses on culture and teaching methods. Nancy has a B.S. in Marketing and an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Keyword Descriptors

Culture, lens, memberships, relationships, engagement, achievement, instruction, responsive, gap

Presentation Year

2015

Start Date

3-4-2015 9:45 AM

End Date

3-4-2015 11:00 AM

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Mar 4th, 9:45 AM Mar 4th, 11:00 AM

Culturally Responsive Instruction: Accelerating Academics Through Student Engagement

Verelst

This session considers communication, classroom management and instructional strategies that are intellectually rigorous and engaging for easy classroom implementation to help all students learn. Participants will learn easy to apply approaches that engage students and help make learning connections to their real life experiences.