201. The other question I have for you and would really
appreciate your answering it with reference to schools
in America is as follows:
How are you able to implement the following outcome in practice giving consideration to the points below:
Act in a manner, consistent with the principles of fairness, equity, and diversity to support the development and learning of individual children, within the context of family, culture, and society.
* Recognize and express the value of diversity and commonality that exists among individuals.
* Demonstrate respect for the individual.
* Promote an environment of mutual respect amongst children.
* Implement experiences for children which are inclusive.
* Evaluate and revise inclusive approaches to curriculum.
* Validate communication initiated by individual children, families, and co workers.
* Plan curriculum and develop programs that are responsive to the social and cultural needs of individual children and groups of children.
* Respond sensitively and appropriately to families.
* Deal with behavior interventions with, and guidance of, children in a sensitive and appropriate manner.
As usual, your question is truly outstanding!! I can tell that you have an incredibly
broad view of the extremely important role of education within schools, families and
society in general. In fact, you might be interested to hear about the 10th Annual
Conference on TWO-WAY Bilingual Education (sponsored by the California Association for
Bilingual Education --CABE--) which I attended Monday and Tuesday (7/15,16/02), in Long
Beach, California. Many of the points raised by your excellent question were addressed at
this Conference and, possibly, you may wish to obtain more information about the
presenters and other keynote speakers. You may wish to visit: www.nabe.org (The National Association for Bilingual
www.bilingualeducation.org (The California Association for Bilingual Education)
The words fairness, equity and diversity are words that I call Positive Words, that is, key concepts about human behavior that describe what a person, or group of individuals, or groups of individuals within a culture or a society do that can be labeled "fair, equal, and different." Thus, ALL children need to master these concepts as expressed by the above POSITIVE Words. Each and every word IS a concept, thus learning words is the best way to expand a child's cognitive capacity and skills as well as a child's vocabulary. There are over 3,000 POSITIVE words in every language of the world!!! Using POSITIVE Words for the specific actions worth praising that students perform in the classroom is the BEST way to recognize and express the value of diversity and commonality. There are probably hundreds of positive ACTIONS that children can perform in the classroom that deserve praise. But praise is NOT enough: The teacher now needs to give each child a positive word that describes the value and desirability of the action performed by the child. Thus, while different children may do different desirable actions --diversity-- ALL children receive ONE set of positive words --commonality. For example, some children may help others, some other children may play together, others may share crayons --diversity. Whatever they do, the teacher can describe the positive actions and label them by a single Positive Word --"-All of you are so very helpful because you [teacher describes what child(ren) did], and you [teacher describes what child(ren) did], and you [teacher describes what the child(ren) did] are ALL helpful!" The students will get the message that each of them can do something positive, something unique and positive, while ALL of them are whatever the Positive Word means. I very strongly believe that in human interactions, especially interactions between adults with younger children, respect needs to be expressed through the use of POSITIVE words rather than through the use of negative words and negative accusations. It is MOST important that at the earliest possible age children begin to appreciate and value, and view positively, what they do, the actions they can perform. In many cases, parents do not offer enough positive encouragement to students. The schools MUST provide a different environment where praise is common and practiced by ALL, including the children who are beginning to develop POSITIVE self images and positive self esteem. When a problem arises or a behavior that is NOT appreciated or desired by teachers occurs, NO negative personal attacks are needed. Rather, children need to be reassured that they are capable of very positive behaviors and that the undesirable behavior must be replaced by a desirable behavior. The child or the teacher or another child can suggest alternative ways of behaving. These other behaviors can be practiced and reinforced in a positive manner. I call this process "respect" for the child.
Children need to perceive themselves AND OTHERS --especially other children-- in positive ways, and need to learn to use positive words to praise their friends --just like teachers and parents should do-- when their friends do positive things, behave in desirable ways. One idea I share with teachers is to teach POSITIVE words to children, listing, illustrating and/or posting or displaying positive actions that can be performed to receive the positive word. Then teachers can set up a "writing" center where teachers have large drawing and writing sheets for students to use as they perform the desirable actions. These sheets of paper are placed under a "title" page that displays one POSITIVE word. Whenever a child performs any positive action that is labeled by the teacher with the positive word in the "title" page, the child can go to the "writing" center and draw a picture of (h)im/erself performing the action. Underneath the drawing the teacher writes what the child dictates, explaining what action (s)he performed to receive the POSITIVE word. At the end of the week, the teacher can share with the students all the drawings and the writing in each of the pictures, encouraging respect and appreciation of everyone in the class. The "writing" center idea above is an "inclusive" experience that promotes appreciation for ALL children in the class. Teachers can also notice children when they perform desirable behaviors and share with the entire class their performance. Then the entire class can decide which positive word(s) should be provided for the student who performed the desirable action. As teachers monitor student behaviors and actions in the class, they should bring to light for all to share the positive actions performed by ALL students. For example, as my own students perform an assignment in class, I monitor their progress and always use students' work to show to the entire class how the assignment needs to be done. Teachers also need to notice which students USE positive words to describe themselves and others. By tabulating how many times individual students visit the "writing" center, and how many times students publicly praise their classmates and use the learned positive words to refer to their classmates, teachers can evaluate the inclusive approaches suggested above.
When someone initiates communication, that person shows (h)is/er desire to become informed, to learn, to explore, to discover, to verify (h)is/er understanding, etc. All of these are POSITIVE actions, desirable actions. Thus, inform everyone that a child, a family member, or someone in the staff or in the faculty has requested information. ASKING or REQUESTING information needs to be praised and reinforced. Publicly acknowledge and appreciate these behaviors.
" * Plan curriculum and develop programs that are responsive to the social and cultural needs of individual children and groups of children." This part of your question is the most difficult to respond to. Unfortunately, unless you are working within the confines of a private school where you own the school, curriculum development and program planning follow politically expedient ideas and ways and means. No where is that truer that in the USA, in every state, and especially here in California. Curriculum development and program planning need to respond and address student needs. Most of the time, however, curriculum planning and program development follow the politics of the day. Classical theory about curriculum development (like Ralph Tyler's ideas) considered students' social, intellectual, spiritual, developmental needs as well as the social and cultural needs of the entire society. None of that is prevalent today in the USA where social and cultural needs are not taken into account. Only the academic needs of children are used to fund education. However, if we are to live in a peaceful world, then we must learn to live together and accept each other no matter what cultural background we come from or we encounter in the school and in the entire society.
Families need today incredible amounts of support. Lower Socio-Economic Status families need lots of encouragement because many times parents do not know what to do. Lower SES parents, burdened by the need to work at two or three jobs every day, find neither the time nor the positive environment in which to develop positive interactions with their children. Wealthier families face many problems, too, in knowing how to raise children. They have sufficient money to hire extra tutors and provide additional educational opportunities for their children. They may not provide enough of themselves to nurture healthy family relationships between parents and children and among the children themselves. Thus, the school takes on ONE more job: Training families to understand the behavior of their own children and what to do about them. One of the best ways to meet parents' needs is to offer parent education programs through take-home videos, the telephone, public access radio and television spots, and through the printed media like newspapers and magazines. My web sites are a valuable resource, too, for parent training programs. I hope in the future to be able to develop questions and answers for PARENTS, just as I do for teachers.
To me, a "sensitive and appropriate" manner means that the child, the teacher, the parents and everyone involved in the education of children LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE. A mistake cannot be undone. But we can all plan for the future so that mistakes do not happen again. Thus, to me asking a child "WHY?" for a misbehavior makes little sense. Rather I would ask the child what can be done IN THE FUTURE so that the misbehavior never happens again.
For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:
1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading
Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)
Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.
For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:
CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.
Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)
3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406
Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605