Meeting students where they are

That’s the important theme of Educational Leadership magazine’s February issue. As always, EL offers a mix of “public” and “member-only” articles at their website. Some titles accessible to all include: “Start Where Your Students Are”; “The Latino Education Crisis”; and the appropos “Meeting Teachers Where They Are.” Abstracts are available for other articles.

One ‘free’ read that caught our attention — “When Students Don’t Play the Game” — is written by an experienced teacher who shifted from a middle-class to urban high school setting in Seattle and discovered to her surprise that “most of the students did not have skill deficits; what they had was a level of disengagement and even anger toward school that I had never before encountered on such a wide scale.” There was, Jessica Towbin found, no “culture of compliance” like that which typically prevailed in suburban schools.

There’s general agreement among members of the Teacher Leaders Network that “cultural competency” must be an essential piece of the preparation for teaching in high-needs schools. This article — indeed, this entire issue of EL — speaks to that.

(Tip: If you follow/subscribe to the ASCD Inservice blog, you may be able to gain free access to other articles from this issue during the month of February, as they are highlighted there.)