December 16, December 16, Teaching reluctant students?
Linda Darling-Hammond and Olivia Ifill-Lynch In innovative urban schools, educators work together to find solutions to the perennial problem of getting struggling students to do homework.
Teachers complain that many adolescents enter high school unprepared to act like students—to sit still and listen, take notes, study on their own, engage in classwork, and finish homework. The plaintive refrain echoes through the staff room: To achieve this level of success, school staff members have worked together to transform students with little history of school success into young scholars who are engaged in doing academic work.
Some students were just expressing their general despair this way. Despair has many sources. It may arise from difficult home circumstances, in which children and youth live in overcrowded, inadequate housing or in homeless shelters; lack good nutrition and health care; or live with adults who are under severe stress.
Difficult school circumstances can also cause despair. Overburdened teachers may meet with five or six large classes a day.
And poor teaching and learning conditions often convince students that they cannot learn. Unfortunately, struggling students know what the experience of failure is like, and they have learned to survive it.
In many cases, accepting failure has become a strategy for not having to try. Here are some ways in which educators from successful schools have created such a culture. Assign Work That Is Worthy of Effort Although it may seem obvious, the first step is to examine the kind of homework that we assign.
What helping struggling students write a book our purpose in giving a particular assignment? Are we providing students with adequate support in completing it? Is it useful, given the circumstances under which it is carried out at home?
Project-based work is an approach that teachers have found intrinsically engaging for students, says Sylvia Rabiner, founding principal of Landmark High School in New York City: At Bushwick, where I coach teachers, kids who routinely neglected homework behave differently when working on final Inquiry Projects.
Teachers report kids coming to school early, staying late, and even asking to complete their projects after the school year has ended. To Be or Not to Be. One insight, Mogulescu recalls, was that even routine homework tasks can be meaningful if they are related to authentic classroom learning: Yes, there are times when homework is not fabulously creative and unusual—there are times when we all have to stuff envelopes, for example—but if the focus is project-based, or inquiry-based, or part of what the class is actively engaged in, the follow-up outside of class will have more meaning.
Students are most likely to complete homework when the homework is actually used the next day in class. For instance, if students have to read a passage in a book and highlight or underline selections to share with their classmates the next day, they tend to put in the effort.
Using a Socratic seminar format, the course incorporates oral and listening skills, reading, research, writing, and critique in an inquiry-based approach. Students are required to cite primary texts to debate their ideas. As they get involved in defending their opinions about important topics, students increasingly do the hard work of reading dense texts and preparing their points.
As students become more informed and articulate, they also become more engaged and empowered and gain confidence in their ability to have and defend a point of view. Sylvia Rabiner, founding principal of Landmark High School, suggests that teachers ask themselves, Are the directions clear?
Is the homework doable without any assistance? How does it relate to the lesson? Is it being collected and returned or reviewed in class the next day so that students are getting immediate feedback?
What kind of comments is the teacher writing on the homework? Can homework be started in class so that the teacher may observe and see where problems for students arise? Unless homework is a clear continuation of well-taught classwork, it can actually exacerbate inequalities in learning instead of closing the gap.
Students whose parents understand the homework and can help them with it at home have a major advantage over students whose parents are unable or unavailable to help.
Teachers at Middle College High School presented their student portfolio assignments to their colleagues.
They were surprised to discover that their peers often could not navigate the material successfully. According to former principal Cece Cunningham, Being confronted by the difficulties their fellow teachers experienced in deciphering their assignments gave teachers insight into similar challenges faced by their students.Helping struggling students to believe in themselves That hope is exactly what we need to inspire and nurture in struggling students in order for them to succeed.
Over the years, here are some tips I have begun to keep in mind when working with such students. A: As you describe, practice alone does not always help students struggling with word recognition and spelling of high-frequency words.
Instruction has to get at the root of the problem. Instruction has to get at the root of the problem. The recommendations in this guide cover teaching the writing process, teaching fundamental writing skills, encouraging students to develop essential writing . Helping Struggling Writers: Five Steps to Getting Thoughts Down on Paper Posted by Toni M.
Shub, MS, OTR/L on Aug 16th Transforming thoughts from ideas into a legible, organized, and an interesting piece of written work is often an area of frustration for children on .
Support Struggling Students with Academic Rigor Robyn Jackson is the coauthor, with Claire Lambert, of the ASCD book How to Support Struggling Students. "Basically, academic rigor is helping kids learn to think for themselves," says Jackson.
She says that academic rigor has four main components: students know how to create their own. We believe that writing instruction for these students must emphasize both prevention and intervention; respond to the specific needs of each child; maintain a healthy balance between meaning, process, and form; and employ both formal and informal learning methods.
Although technology can support and even change how students with LD write.