Reflecting on SPU’s Engaged Communities course, I learned the importance of reaching out to parents, students, and fellow teachers. In the past, I have found myself responding to parents, students, and fellow teachers when there is a need or a request for help. In the future, I want to be more proactive communicating with parents, especially in positive, uplifting ways. It was interesting to learn that student achievement increases when both students and parents are more engaged. I once believed that parent and student involvement was up to the individual. If they weren’t participating, too bad for them. Now I feel more inspired to promote and teach engagement. I would like to create more dialogue with fellow colleagues, parents, and students about the importance of engagement. The course readings were very inspirational. I realize how important it is to be aware, alert, and engaged with culturally diverse learners, parents, and colleagues. I learned how challenging it can be to build engaged relationships with reluctant parents. I learned that culturally diverse learners are often targeted for unfair punishment and too much punishment creates a feeling of hopelessness. I learned about useful tools to help children reflect on disruptive behavior rather than merely doling out meaningless punishment. I learned that white teachers are often blind to systematic racism and oppression, and often do not have the proper mind set to address the needs of multicultural education. I learned how white teachers, teaching on a Native American reservation, found ways to build community by embracing native American culture and building positive relationship with parents. I learned about African American families that are home schooling their children to teach a more well-rounded African American history and protect their children from institutional racism. I learned that I can be blind by my prejudices and biases and that I need to attempt to better understand other point of view and seek out the needs, wishes, and hopes of diverse learners and their families. Moving forward, I plan to reach out to colleagues and share the research with others that increasing teacher, parent and student engagement makes a huge impact on student learning. Quite possibly the most effective intervention to help struggling learners is reaching out to parents and communicating and collaborating with them to help their child grow.
Bolea, P. S. (2012). Cross-Cultural Service Learning with Native Americans: Pedagogy for Building Cultural Competence. Journal Of Teaching In Social Work, 32(3), 284-299.
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Elias, M. (2013). The School-to-Prison Pipeline. Teaching Tolerance, 52(43), 39-40.
Legislation, Education. “Teacher/Principal Evaluation Program.” Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. N.p., 17 Apr. 2017. Web. 13 May 2017.
Mazama, A., & Lundy, G. (2015). African American Homeschooling and the Quest for a Quality Education. Education And Urban Society, 47(2), 160-181.