We can’t give up on students who are just struggling to survive.
In a piece for the October edition of AMLE (Association for Middle Level Education) Magazine, Dr. Ruby Payne cites the relationship between negative neighborhood characteristics and poor student performance.
Where some educators see pessimism, Dr. Payne sees positivity, “Actually, there is a great deal of hope. Unfortunately we tend to get into the ‘polarities’ frame of mind in schools: ‘If we cannot ‘save’ them all, why even try?’ The real question should be: ‘Did I help one student today better negotiate his or her life and make better choices?'”
Dr. Payne offers three tactics to improve our schools, each of which represents a paradigm shift from the existing model:
- We address one of the most damaging philosophies in school: “I treat all my students the same.”
- We recognize that about 90% of discipline referrals apply to 10% of the students.
- We ask students what would make school better for them.
For additional explanations of these topics, see the full article.
This article was used with permission and was originally published in the October 2014 issue of AMLE Magazine.