Monday, February 23, 2015

Recovered Post

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Questioning??? An empowering skill for all...

"Questioning" was the topic in #sunchat on May 25th.  Many good ideas where exchanged around the topic and I shared the following:

1)Some Ss have mastered art of silence/avoidance 2 questions and 2) Questions are great...if we allow time for Ss to answer them!  And not the same student(s) that dominate all discussions. 

I shared these tweets because as an assistant principal I've noticed that in most (not all) classes questioning is always one directional - from teacher to student.  Typically a teacher will pose a question, a few students will raise their hand to respond, and the teacher will choose a student to answer and the lesson goes on and on and on.  Once in a while a teacher will choose a student not raising his or her hand and 9 time out of 10 the student will sit quietly until the teacher asks someone else to help that student.  That's why I stated that some students have mastered that art of silence/avoidance.  But than again, these are my students -Black and Latino students in a predominately Black and Latino community with a high percentage of low-income households.  Are students in "other" communities taught to speak up confidently and challenge what's in front of them.  Are students in other communities expected to think critically and creatively while students in the community I serve expected to sit quietly and not question or challenge anyone or anything?  While I didn't share these thoughts during #sunchat it was clearly on my mind.  Why didn't I add these ideas to the chat?  Well, the chat was so positive, I didn't think it was appropriate for me to jump in with a Tweet about race/class and communities that are often underserved in the educational system.  But than I read the following excerpt from @JovanDM:

Second - Where are all the black educators on Twitter? by @JovanDM

@JovanDM wrote: Twitter and other social media outlets where educators congregate NEED the voices and experiences of Black educators and other educators of color because our experiences are often unique in that we must simultaneously grapple with the challenges of implementing curricula, integrating technology, navigating race and racism, and addressing students’ social and emotional needs in a way that many, though not all, of our White counterparts don’t have to. Our challenges, frustrations, hard work, innovation, and triumphs will remain the stuff of fairy tales if we don’t share them with one another and the world.

Wow -this spoke directly to my heart and soul and led me right back to my initial thoughts about questioning.  Yes, the #sunchat was about teachers asking good questions in class but should teachers be the only person in the class asking questions?  And if so, how do we really get our students to think critically about anything?  Black and Latino students are sometimes told by their parents not to question authority, just sit back, be quiet and listen to what the teacher says.  If a student questions a teacher or adult in the building they can be labeled as disrespectful, disobedient, or "at risk".   How and when are we to develop a community of thinkers if they are never allowed to question who or what is in front of them?  

If students do not know how to ask questions or if they have been conditioned so long to think that they can't ask questions, than it is our responsibility as educators to model when and how to ask questions.  We must work to empower all students and give all #studentsvoice. 

I am absolutely making this one of my instructional goals for the 2014-2015 school year and as I seek to find my voice in the Twitter and blog world, I will no longer hesitate to add my views as a Black educator to mainstream Twitter chats.  Because if I don't, who will? 

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