Archive for the ‘(09) Cultural sensitivity:’ Category

Capstone–Standard 09 Meta-Reflection: Cultural Sensitivity

Standard 09 Meta-Reflection: Cultural Sensitivity–Capstone

Establishes a culturally inclusive learning climate that facilitates academic engagement and success for all students. 

Initial reflection during C & I Orientation:

Regardless of the range of differences in race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity and exceptionality represented by the students within my care, I must model respect for diversity and promote a learning environment that is free from bias. Specifically within my school setting, I must be especially mindful and responsive to the unique interests of students who belong to one of the two Native American tribal communities represented within our school district.

EDU 6525 Culturally Responsive Teaching

Please note: The requirement for this course was fulfilled via transfer credits earned through another university. I am grateful for SPU’s acceptance of my petition, however, regret not having the opportunity to take EDU 6525 Culturally Responsive Teaching*. I earned an A in the SEI/500 course entitled, Structured English Immersion which focused on the following: ELL Proficiency Standards for Listening and Speaking, Reading and Writing, data analysis and application, formal and informal assessment, learning experiences with SEI strategies, parent/home/school scaffolding, and Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP).

*In the context of taking Survey of Instructional Strategies through Seattle Pacific University, however, I briefly addressed the topic of Culturally Responsive Teaching in a blog, entitled: Cultural Competence—A Work in Progress:

As a special education teacher in a largely inclusive high school where nearly 40% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch, I am currently working with special education students —ranging from the context of individual student appointments to one or more class periods per day—based on their IEP needs.

Over 10% of our total student population represents families from two local Native American tribes which have teamed together with our district in multiple ways within the past three decades to facilitate significant progress toward many of the goals highlighted within the readings this week.

While I have had the privilege of participating (both as a teacher and a parent) in a wide variety of creative activities designed to bridge the cultural gaps, including parent conferences held at tribal education centers, community dinners, reading celebrations, etc. –I still feel the personal need to improve my ability to connect with and embrace cultural differences within my own school and community (we live right on the boundary of one of the reservations).

Within the Synthesis of the Recommendations for the 2008 Achievement Gap Studies, many suggestions are offered for developing relationships between school districts and tribes. One particular thought that caught my attention was, “Teachers, educators and school administrators need to understand that disengagement from the school or not understanding how to help their children with homework does not mean “a lack of commitment to education” (section III, #2). This helps me to see some of my current students’ challenges in a different light. Perhaps it is like having a goal in mind, but not knowing how–or not having the tools to create realistic steps to reach that goal. For example, just because someone is struggling to create or maintain a workable plan to become physically fit, does not automatically mean that a person does not value or desire a healthy lifestyle.

As a teacher working to help my students to make progress and complete steps toward graduation and beyond, I found the following characteristics noted in the Synthesis of the Recommendations for the 2008 Achievement Gap Studies to be familiar…”(a) provide encouragement, support and respect for their cultural identity; and (b) be flexible and adaptable to help Native students make up for absences and missed assignments due to family issues, losses and cultural opportunities outside the classroom” (p. 12).

I am encouraged to see so many resources highlighted to address the cultural competency need and look forward to gaining new insights.  I so often feel like I’m “just beginning”—despite my status as a veteran teacher. My number one goal is to see my students as individuals in the context of “their world”–and to be willing to try to see “the world of school”, through their eyes.

In another SPU course, EDU 6655: Human Development and Principles of Learning, I responded to an assignment prompt by suggesting a service project through which students might work together with local fisheries personnel and local Native American tribes to assist and monitor the restoration and health of fish-bearing streams of North Kitsap County.In the midst of researching the benefits of organizing a community effort on this nature, I noted that according to Smith (2008):

Service learning presents many opportunities for adult participants to:

  • develop and maintain close relationships with other people,
  • give care to those in need
  • balance one’s needs with a responsibility to care for others
  •  …(possibly) contribute to an “ethic of care” as a consequence of being in a helping, caregiver, or service provider role (Smith, p 10).

I believe a project involving the local Native American tribal community with students in my school could strengthen existing and create new, healthy connections for all involved. I have often observed among the families of my Native American students, a strong emphasis on bonds between generations and sharing traditions with others in our community. Not only would this project reflect cultural sensitivity, but it would also serve to address the psychosocial needs of my students. “A particularly relevant dimension of psychosocial maturity is development of generativity among adults… Generativity concerns the ability to care for and provide for the next generation” (Smith, p. 10).

Artifacts for Standard 09:

I have selected two artifacts for this standard—both from University of Phoenix, however, since digital copies are no longer available, hard copies of these papers have been scanned and uploaded. Please note that in the conversion process, some of the formatting has been distorted.

Artifact 1: Artifact–Assessments for English Language Learners

Artifact 2: Artifact–Make a Difference Proposal

References:

Closing Opportunity Gaps in Washington’s Public Education Systemhttp://www.k12.wa.us/Cisl/pubdocs/AgapLegReport2010.pdf

Cross, T. L. (2001). Gifted children and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Gifted Child Today, 24(1), 54-55,61.

James, L. G. (2011). EDU 6655 Human Development and Principles of Learning, Seattle Pacific University. Service Learning for Gifted Students and Adults  Retrieved from  https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/service-learning-for-gifted-students-and-adults/

James, L. G. (2012). EDU 6526 A Survey  of Instructional Strategies, Seattle Pacific University. Module 1 Reflection: Cultural Competence—A Work in Progress. Retrieved from https://lpettengilljames.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/cultural-competence-a-work-in-progress/

Smith, M. (2008). Does service learning promote adult development? Theoretical perspectives and directions for research. New Directions For Adult And Continuing Education, (118), 5-15.

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Service Learning for Gifted Students and Adults

I found this week’s assignment to be interesting and challenging, as it required me to “think out of my usual box”. Assignment: Read through the three posted journal articles. Use these three articles (as well as any other you desire) as foundational support for a persuasive argument in the following scenario:

You have recently become concerned about a specific group of the students at your site. Academically the students are functioning well above standard and some have even tested for the district’s gifted program. However, with the building administration’s concern regarding the state standardized test and the building-wide initiative focusing resources and interventions on “bubble kids” (e.g. students who are on the edge of pass/fail) there is little attention dedicated to the needs of the “high achievers”. Some of the staff even dismiss your concerns stating, “The needs of high achievers don’t make headlines, people just care about bad test scores.”

You recognize a potential opportunity to serve this group of students by connecting the students with a local community organization (i.e. Lion’s Club, Kiwanis, Church, etc.). Your hope would be that the adults could interact with the students, providing increased academic rigor and challenge while also supplying a relevancy to the subject(s) being learned.

Using the three posted journal articles, create an outline of how you would sell this collaborative endeavor to (1) building administration and (2) the community organization leadership.

My response:

A.  Service Project: Students to work together with local fisheries personnel and local Native American tribes to assist and monitor the restoration and health of fish-bearing streams of North Kitsap County.

“Gifted adolescents develop a sense of self through various interactions with groups of people. Erikson called this trying on different hats. He believed that becoming a healthy adult is necessarily tied to resolving the crisis of identity or suffering the feelings associated with role confusion” (Cross, 2001).

B.   Rationale for Building Administration

“Erikson defined eight developmental stages during which a crisis must be resolved in order for a person to develop psychosocially without carrying forward issues tied to the previous crisis…

As the children move into adolescence, he or she must refine his or her sense of identity versus role confusion; in young adulthood, intimacy versus isolation; in middle adulthood, generativity versus despair; and in older age, integrity versus despair. According to Erikson, as the individual negotiates a crisis at each stage of development, basic strengths or virtues emerge. The following are the eight basic virtues that Erikson believed emerged across psychosocial development: hope, will purpose, competence, fidelity love, care, and wisdom, respectively.

According to Smith, “…evidence shows that participation in service learning can:

  • foster civic responsibility on the part of children, youth, and college students (Smith).
  • positively affect the cognitive and intellectual development of youths (Billig and Klute, 2003)
  • provide a sense of civic responsibility and engagement (Scales, Blyth, Berkas, and Kielsmeier, 2000).
  • contribute to improvements in self-concept and tolerance for others (Morgan and Streb, 2001)
  • build leadership skills (Billig,2002)
  • influence moral development (Conrad and Hedin, 1991) and a sense of ethics (Furco, 2002) among youth.

Provide opportunities for students to complete service hours required for culminating project.

Establish school-to-work connections for students with the community.

“Guiding the development of gifted children requires adults to work together in seeing that the children successfully resolve the crises that Erikson outlined in the eight stages of psychosocial development” (Cross, 2001, p. 4)

C.  Rationale for Community Organization Leadership

According to Smith: Service learning presents many opportunities for adult participants to:

  • develop and maintain close relationships with other people,
  • give care to those in need, and
  • balance one’s needs with a responsibility to care for others
  •  …(possibly) contribute to an “ethic of care” as a consequence of being in a helping, caregiver, or service provider role (Smith, p 10).

“A particularly relevant dimension of psychosocial maturity is development of generativity among adults… Generativity concerns the ability to care for and provide for the next generation” (Smith, p. 10).

References:

Brazelton, T., & Greenspan, S. I. (2006). Why children need ongoing nurturing relationships. Early Childhood Today, 21(1), 14-15.

Cross, T. L. (2001). Gifted children and Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development. Gifted Child Today, 24(1), 54-55,61.

Smith, M. (2008). Does service learning promote adult development? Theoretical perspectives and directions for research. New Directions For Adult And Continuing Education, (118), 5-15.

Reflection on Course of Study, C & I Standards

My goals for continuing my educational experience at Seattle Pacific University are educational, professional and personal in nature.

Educationally, as I progress through each course requirement for obtaining my Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, I intend to gain new information and further develop my teaching skills and effectiveness with students.

As a professional educator who has been teaching for nearly thirty years, I anticipate gaining fresh insights as I weave together past experiences with new challenges–enabling me to positively impact my classroom, school, district, and community–one person at a time.

On a personal level, I hope to grow both now and in the future–as I continue in my role as a graduate student, a life-long learner, and a veteran teacher seeking to gain new perspectives, skills, and opportunities.

Curriculum and Instruction: Program Standards

Standard 01. Instructional Planning

Designs and monitors long and short-term plans for students’ academic success.

Reflection: In my role as a special education teacher, my primary obligation is to ensure that both long and short-term goals are clearly articulated within each student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) and addressed on a consistent basis. I must also ensure my high school students have a transition plan and course of study which addresses the student’s post-high school goals.

Standard 02. Learning Environment

Creates and maintains school-wide and classroom environments that are safe, stable, and empowering.

Reflection: In my role as the special education curriculum leader in an inclusion setting, I must ensure that a continuum of services is available for consideration by each student’s IEP Team. I must see to it that my students are provided services in the “least restrictive environment” and that they are given the opportunity to access free and appropriate public education.

Standard 03. Curriculum

Provides knowledge and skills that bring academic subjects to life and are aligned with state content standards.

Reflection: As a special education teacher, I must endeavor to provide instruction and skill development opportunities for students that will promote progress toward the reaching of the Washington State Standards. I must ensure that students have access to the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, I must facilitate the delivery of specially designed instruction as well as any necessary accommodations or modifications.

Standard 04. Pedagogy

Engages students in learning experiences that are meaningful, stimulating, and empirically proven to promote intellectual growth.

Reflection: The learning experiences I provide for my students should be interesting, inspiring, and research-based. Instruction to promote thinking skills should be delivered in the student’s least restrictive environment. Additionally, I must keep up-to-date and aware of methods and techniques to actively involve my students in the learning process.

Standard 05. Assessment

Assesses students’ mastery of curriculum and modifies instruction to maximize learning.

Reflection: With regard to assessment, I must ensure that I am monitoring progress toward each student’s IEP goals and make any necessary adjustments required to keep them moving toward the general education curriculum–while also addressing the unique needs presented by their disability. Not only does this include measuring progress in the classroom, but also ensuring access to and administration of any alternative assessments to state testing. Examples include: High School Proficiency Exam—Basic (meeting standard at Level 2 versus Level 3), Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (DAPE), Locally Determined Assessments (such as the Woodcock-Johnson III). Currently, I am not directly responsible for preparation for and administration of the WAAS-Portfolio administration or Collection of Evidence (COE); however, will be in the near future.

Standards 06. Communication

Communicates regularly and effectively with colleagues, parents, and students through a variety of mediums.

Reflection: In my role as a special education teacher “Communication” (with a capital C) is as necessary as breathing. In my nearly thirty years of teaching, I would have to say that communication continues to be the number one requirement for my job—and I always strive to keep it my priority. I find that most often, extra attention devoted to maintaining regular and effective communication with students, parents and colleagues—whether in person, by phone, via email, US mail, etc.—is well worth the time and energy.

Standard 07. Collaboration

Cooperates with other professionals to bridge gaps between schools and community and between departments/disciplines within schools.

Reflection: Every IEP meeting is an example of the collaborative process at work. This process in designed to bring together the perspectives of the student, family, special educator, general educator(s) and the district–as well as any necessary outside agencies. In addition to the required annual IEP and triennial evaluation, I must facilitate any coordination and collaboration between any and all of the above noted members of the IEP Team—as needed. Beyond the specific realm of the IEP process, I am required to be an active participant of my special education team, professional learning community, POD team, and leadership team.

 

Standard 08. Exceptionality

Reflection

Addresses the unique learning and behavioral needs of all children, collaborating with other educators and professionals where necessary.

Reflection: The concept of addressing exceptionality is “where I live—day to day and moment by moment” as a special educator. Regardless of the unique needs presented by each of my students who qualify for special education services, I must ensure that they have access to the general education curriculum to the greatest extent possible. In the process, I must serve as an advocate for each student and coordinate the delivery of services required for offering free and appropriate public education on their behalf.

Standard 09. Cultural Sensitivity

Establishes a culturally inclusive learning climate that facilitates academic engagement and success for all students.

Reflection: Regardless of the range of differences in race, class, gender, religion, ethnicity and exceptionality represented by the students within my care, I must model respect for diversity and promote a learning environment that is free from bias. Specifically within my school setting, I must be especially mindful and responsive to the unique interests of students who belong to one of the two Native American tribal communities represented within our school district.

Standard 10. Technology

Integrates current technology into instruction and professional communication/collaboration activities where appropriate.

Reflection: I am responsible for utilizing technological means to ensure that my students have access to materials and resources available to all general education students. Not only does this involve receiving presented information, but students must also be provided instruction and opportunity to use assistive technology to express and effectively convey thoughts and information to others. As a teacher, I must keep up with communication methods used to interact with my parents and colleagues. (Online IEP programs, Skyward Information system, email, etc.)

Standard 11. Inquiry/Research

Competently consumes and produces where necessary empirical data to guide educational practice.

Reflection: It is my responsibility to effectively use data at every level in my job including; selecting research-based curriculum, researching best practices for delivering services to address IEP goals, and collecting data on student performance. Equally important is to research district records and track information to ensure that classroom goals are based on current IEPS which are in turn based on current evaluations.

 

Standard 12. Professional citizenship

Willingly engages in dialogue that transcends the individual classroom, taking informed, coherent positions on important matters of educational policy and practice.

Reflection: I believe that on a continual basis I endeavor to develop my professional citizenship by serving as my school’s special education curriculum leader as well as a member of the building leadership team. Additionally, I am part of a professional learning community (PLC) group which meets weekly and I regularly participate in faculty and district meetings.