Validating Student Identities

Validating student identities is inarguably a critical dimension of classroom management. In order for meaningful learning to occur, students must feel comfortable in their environment. Given that each student is remarkably different, a couple of questions arise: how do we, as educators, make sure we are legitimately validating student identities? and How can we (again, as educators) incorporate individual student experiences into the classroom in such a way that is genuine and promotes mutual respect amongst students? Classroom equity and the development of self-identity are two topics of particular interest to me; thus, I am always intrigued when I comes across an article that touches upon anything remotely close to either of these topics. Recently, I stumbled upon an article from Red Orbit, entitled “Cultural Identity of Students: What Teachers Should Know.” While the article does not delve into too much detail, it is well worth the read. Below is a three-item takeaway from the article that highlights some of the fundamentals when it comes to demonstrating respect for individual student identities:

What is it that teachers should know? 

* Our students need to belong, to be valued, and to be appreciated on a daily basis. 

* Students’ cultures have value in the classroom, and these cultural identities must be validated through lessons and teaching practices. 

* A philosophy that demands high expectations of all students is the beginning of empowering students for success. 

The teacher’s ability to identify with students or understand the cultural identities of students is necessary for addressing the needs of every student. Therefore, teachers must learn as much as possible about their students so that they can structure activities, build curricular materials, and tap into resources that will help all students be academically successful.

Check out the whole article here.

Scholastic Presents: 6 Online Research Skills

After a several month hiatus, I am back with a cache of articles! This piece in particular — “The 6 Online Research Skills Your Students Need” — addresses how we, as teachers, can help facilitate opportunities for students to strengthen their online research skills. Going beyond some of the more common adages like “Wikipedia is not a credible source,” this article addresses six specific areas where students often struggle with online research. More than addressing these areas, this article from Scholastic – Teacher also offers solutions for remedying these common research hurdles. Breaking each research skill down into three components — the skill, the challenge, and the solution — I found this to be a quick read with some solid information that could be applicable to a wide age group (grades 6-12)!