What Teens say they need, and How Schools can Adjust!

School districts across the country reopen after months of planning and debate, with students — both individuals and youth organizations — arguing that they should have a say in major decisions affecting their education, Charlotte Charlotte West writes for The Hechinger Report.

“From Virginia, Kentucky and Arizona to Washington and California, [students] are making their voices heard by arming themselves with data, testifying on school boards and petitioning local and state legislatures,” West reports. “They let officials know that while they want to see friends, they recognize the seriousness of the virus and want the district to prioritize students’ mental health and improve online learning, especially for at-risk students.”

Many of the pandemic-related concerns raised by students in the West Report are consistent with the study’s findings: There is an urgent need to pay more attention to the mental health of high school students; students of color and their classmates are increasingly aware of the lack of diverse perspectives in the curriculum; even as we transition to distance learning during the pandemic, strong nurturing relationships are critical to academic success also crucial.

We looked at the research and rounded up the best ideas from educators on how to respond to what high school students say they need right now.

Children want to see themselves and their class members in the lessons

Students say the current national reckoning with racial injustice must also be reflected in the curriculum, and more inclusive instruction should replace unified instruction.

For African Americans in the Seattle school district, we don’t see ourselves being represented in the curriculum,” Ajala Wilson-Daraja, a freshman at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington, told West. “As a result, it’s getting harder and harder for us to grasp the importance of what we’re learning and connect it to real issues and things going on in our communities.”

Research and many educators agree. “America’s Indigenous communities and people of color continue to suffer debilitating and systemic discrimination…” said a position paper for the National Council of Teachers of English. “Some of this discrimination has taken the form of extinction, and these communities continue to face a school curriculum that often overlooks or ignores the work and contributions of their communities.”

Provides a range of sounds: When children are reflected in the curriculum—for example, in a history class—“not only do they develop a deeper understanding of the subject, but they also become more citizens,” Holly Kirby writes. Research shows that when children feel a sense of belonging and identity at school, they are more likely to be engaged citizens.

A 2010 study of 9th and 10th graders found that girls performed better on chemistry tests when textbooks included pictures of female scientists, leading researchers to conclude: “Using pictures of female scientists tends to close the gender gap. [Science] achievement between boys and girls.” Or, as Korbey wrote, “simple behaviors of performance level the playing field.”

Diversify your material: Fill your lessons with text from authors of color. “Students should learn about the writings of black authors on black experiences, perspectives, and achievement,” writes educator Ranne Miller. “These authors remind children and adults that black excellence is not limited to sports and recreation. How can we promote the academic achievement of black children without introducing them to the black intellectuals they would one day imagine?”

Primary sources such as diaries and letters provide first-hand eyewitness accounts of events or historical periods that can elicit different and often marginalized voices from past historical periods. Also, consider incorporating other materials such as songs, videos, podcasts, and websites into classrooms to “provide a broader, more authentic, and more festive perspective on different cultures,” write educators Liliana Lopez and Gary Pankiewicz. Lopez and Pankiewicz suggest that supplemental material can help “provide the cultural context in a more accessible way.”

Ask tough questions: Use open-ended prompts to help your child explore the cultural context of the material you are exploring, and ask questions such as “What do you think of the characters in the story?” Or use the conflict in the lyrics to start a conversation about prejudice, by asking questions such as “Are the characters’ struggles related to aspects of their identities?” This can help drive dialogue to address broader issues related to power and privilege and unfair institutions and systems, notes Lopez and Pankiewicz.

Relationship First

“I would love to have more personal relationships with my teachers and advisors,” Olivia Sanchez, a senior at Chaffee High School in Ontario, Calif., told West, looking ahead to an academic year that will almost certainly be conducted remotely, reiterating the transition from Concerns expressed by children from elementary to high school. “We knew our teachers early in the spring, but at the beginning of the year, relationships are important so [teachers] can see where you stand so they can help you with distance learning. Because everyone’s environment at home is very different, ‘ Sanchez added.

The importance of positive, nurturing relationships in school is well-documented — research clearly shows that belonging translates into teens’ academic success and motivation for success — but as distance learning extends into the new school year, kids say They are especially eager to feel part of something bigger.

Reach out to each child: Prioritize contact first and let your students know you are thinking of and care about them. For kids exposed to technology, a simple daily video greeting may be the only time they see you during the day. For students without an internet connection, try calling or texting. Consider rotating a small group of students each day to keep it manageable. Sixth and eighth grade English teacher Catherine Beachbod said: “It takes a long time to spend time connecting with each child, but it’s worth it: “In the first few days of [remote learning], very few kids signed up, but now I’m at almost 98 percent attendance.”

Make it easy to connect: Check-ins don’t have to take long: using the roses and thorns approach or letting students choose an emoji that matches their mood is an easy way to raise the room temperature and show everyone that you care about them. You can also quickly identify children who may not be emotionally ready to learn and schedule a time to meet and talk. “I’ve posted on Schoology giving me a thumbs-up, a thumbs-up (meh) or a thumbs-up to describe their day. …I encourage them to take a selfie with their thumb,” high school teacher Javier Rivera said on Twitter.

Built-in peer contact: Eighth-grade English teacher Kasey Short sets up virtual groups through Google Classroom to keep students connected and rotate groups weekly. “I’ll set up discussion threads with four or five students so they can discuss assignments, ask each other questions and stay connected,” Short explained, noting that it’s important to connect kids with classmates outside of their immediate social circle. This way they expand and learn collaboration as a transferable skill.

Provide Social and Emotional Support

Serious mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and self-harm are on the rise among U.S. teens. When the ACLU of Southern California Youth Liberty surveyed 640 high school students in April, more than half of respondents said they needed mental health support. The authors of a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics wrote that schools are “the de facto mental health system for many children and adolescents,” providing mental health services to 57 percent of adolescents in need of care.

Currently, without school support structures, remote-learning teens are balancing academic expectations with “the global health pandemic and counteracting the boredom, stress, anxiety, and fatigue that are taking a toll on their physical and mental health,” says Anthony Flo Reis. Alvarez, a senior at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, said West.

Greet students at the door (or virtual door): In his classroom, educator David Tow greets every student at the door of the classroom because it reassures children that adults are taking care of their well-being in life, and research supports this. During distance learning, sixth-grade social studies teacher Sarah Farr queues her students in a virtual “waiting room” — a feature in the setup of tools like Zoom — so she can record Name each child and say hello.

Schedule check-ins: Tow also schedules time each month to “do the necessary check-ins with every student, no matter how they look.” “It’s simple and inexpensive in terms of time invested, but provides important insights,” he wrote. He also sets formal office hours — which can also be managed remotely — and uses them to meet with students “not just for academics,” because, he adds, “most of my students just want or need someone to talk to.” 

Know-how and when to get help: Ultimately, teachers must know how to connect students with professional help when children’s mental health needs are beyond the capabilities of classroom teachers. “The teachers’ best efforts pale in comparison to the support, resources, and guidance of professionals,” Tow said. if you’re lucky) or find those really important names and numbers right away. “

About the article

Teachers play a vital role in the academic success of all the children they teach. Crucially, however, they take a greater leadership role in supporting children facing academic failure and/or insufficient academic potential. Granted, this is not an easy task in a classroom full of other students who also need the help and guidance of their teachers.

Another challenge many teachers face is learning to deal effectively with cultural and socioeconomic status differences that may exist between students. Such differences can include learning and socializing styles, as well as communication skills, and the gaps they can create between teachers and students can be frustrating, even overwhelming.

However, with the appropriate support from peers and administrators, teachers can greatly improve their chances of communicating with students and, in turn, increase their chances of academic success. In this article, we discussed how schools can adjust according to the student’s needs to improve the quality and efficiency of the education provided to them.

Bill westermen

Digital Entrepreneur, Website Builder, SEO Consultant and Professional. I have 12 years experience in Digital Marketing, And this is the future of Business

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