Category: Affective Learning

Politics in the Classroom

In the midst of some intense political happenings in Washington, DC, it seems appropriate to ask: how does a teacher responsibly and ethically handle, or remember regarding, politics in the classroom?

Here is the fruit of my research:

  • Recognize your own positions. We all develop beliefs in response to our perceptions, feelings, interpretations of the past, interpretations of our own lives, and what we hear from family, friends, colleagues, the media, social media, our culture, etc. We must know our own positions and values, the evidence and causes behind them, and be conscious of how these positions and values affect our teaching and presentation of material.
  • Remember and acknowledge how our values affect our course design and lesson planning.  If we talk about slaves, we are influenced by a Marxist approach to history that encourages discussion of the subaltern. Depending on how we structure the lesson or where the conversation goes, issues of race and economics will be involved.
  • There is an uneven power dynamic between students and teachers. Most teachers develop the assignments for the students. Teachers evaluate and grade students. Ethical teachers cannot give points to students with whom they agree politically.
  • There is a difference between “settled issues” and “open issues.” Franke Wilmer uses the example as the Holocaust as a settled issue. It happened; it’s very sad a historical fact. Diane Hess uses the example of climate change. It is a settled issue that the climate is changing, but the appropriate response to climate change is the open question. Similarly, regarding an issue we might encounter in a Latin or Classics class, it is a settled issue that rape is bad, but the punishment for the rapist seems to be at the core of the debate raging today. It is important to differentiate between these for ourselves, and for our students. It may foster more constructive dialogue and it help us recognize that we are more similar to one another than our current polarization implies. Wilmer, though, acknowledges that drawing the line between “settled” and “open” can be difficult.
  • Focus on issues, not events. Often, we do not have enough knowledge of specific, very recent events, such as a police officer shooting Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, to discuss them adequately or fairly; but we do have sufficient knowledge to focus on issues, such as racial inequality, the militarization of the police, police wearing body cameras, etc. This will also help students see the historical context and systemic issues behind current events.
  • There is a difference between “public”/”civic” values and “private” values. To quote Tom Huddleston, “The kind of values that characterise a pluralist democracy, such as ours [referring to the UK, but the same applies to the USA], include: social justice; political equality; tolerance; human rights; respect for the rule of law; and a commitment to negotiation and debate as the ideal way of resolving public conflict. This difference [between public and private values] allows a distinction to be made between the values that may be legitimately taught in schools–indeed, which schools have a duty to teach–and those that are more properly the province of the home, particular interest groups and religious or political parties. Thus, … [teachers] may quite legitimately condemn and prohibit injustices which contravene our community values, such as racism and human rights abuse – wherever they take place.”
  • Provide all points of view regarding an issue, and present them in a neutral manner. You can play ‘devil’s advocate’ to challenge what seems like an early emerging one-sided consensus, or encourage students to share and explain their own thoughts. You can invite a variety of community members into the classroom (especially if they are parents who are worried about you indoctrinating their children).
  • Do not establish yourself as the sole authority on a subject. This will demonstrate your open mind and the value of other opinions, and it will help students see that there are a variety of opinions.
  • Ask students to actively engage in a discussion of the issues. To quote Tom Huddleston again, “If children become accustomed to discussing their differences in a rational way in the primary years, they are more likely to accept it as normal in their adolescence. Citizenship education helps equip young people to deal with situations of conflict and controversy knowledgeably and tolerantly. It helps to equip them to understand the consequences of their actions, and those adults around them. Pupils learn how to recognize bias, evaluate argument, weigh evidence, look for alternative interpretations, viewpoints and sources of evidence; above all to give good reasons for the things they say or do, and to expect good reasons to be given by others.” In other words, do not just teach the issues, but teach the skills of being a good citizen.
  • Have rules for discussion. Students should be respectful and attentive, and they should approach the discussion with open minds. Opposing opinions should not be dismissed but respectfully interrogated so that they are better understood. The discussion should be based on fact-checked evidence, and arguments should be critiqued on their merits (not on whether or not the teacher agrees). Teaching students these rules for less controversial, political issues will establish a safe, respectful environment for discussing more hot button issues.
  • We must model approaching issues with an open mind. Do not reveal your own preferences unconsciously through facial expressions, gestures, tones of voice, choice of respondents during a discussion, etc. Do not make sarcastic comments or jokes that are political or partisan in nature–that polarizes students.
  • If you share your opinion, make it clear that it is your opinion. State that it is “in my opinion.” Step out from behind a podium. State that students must make up their own minds.
  • Do not focus on cynicism and fear. Find upbeat messages and the good side of what may seem like crazy times, and share them with your students.
  • Are students initiating the discussion because they want to talk about it? or are you? There are differing levels of comfort that come with each cause.
  • To what extent are your students, their families, and their communities personally affected by an issue? Emotional levels will run high or low depending on your answer, or you may need to devote more or less time to issues that directly affect students before their learning can take place.
  • Should students be allowed to opt out of the discussion if it is particularly hard for them due to their religious background or personal past? Considerations similar to those for trigger warnings apply, on the one hand. On the other hand, Paula McAvoy mentions that we don’t let students opt out of tests, democratic discussion allows participants to walk away, and democracies rely on participants overcoming their discomfort regarding discussing their opinions.
  • Is the issue something all students ought to know about, regardless of whether it is in the curriculum?
  • We are a very politically polarized country at the moment. Current political polarization may mean that some comments are interpreted as political even though both sides agree on the idea (despite caricatures on the media or social media) or even though you did not mean them to be political, and it may mean that emotions will run high during discussions. However, respectful discussion is what is missing in our national discourse, so it may be beneficial to encourage it in our schools–to teach students how to be good citizens.
  • Remember there are difficult balances to maintain here, and success will not be immediate with every group of students. Don’t give up trying. It is important and engaging to connect Classics to the modern world, and to acknowledge the modern world’s effects on our perceptions of the ancient world. These attempts show why Classics matters. But the questions of whether and how political to be–that’s up to you, your students, and your administration.

Sources

Towards ethical social justice education

Last Tuesday’s election and its aftermath encouraged me to look into something that I had been considering for a while now: how do I ethically encourage students to act in a more socially just way?

There is a fair amount of literature on social justice education, and I present here my findings from an initial bit of research into this question.  First, it seems that a lot of social justice literature is focused on structural or systemic issues relating to making sure that all students have equitable and fair access to a high quality education.  Everson and Bussy succinctly describe the issue:

Lack of knowledge about social justice does not excuse leaders [or teachers] from responsibility for it. Leaders [or teachers] who are unaware or uninformed about equity and fairness issues, which they face every day, still live with the moral imperative that is embedded in their jobs. (p. 178)

To learn more about equity and fairness issues, and to improve my own understanding of marginalized groups, I have begun reading several books on these lists:

But what about my behavior in the classroom? What can I do in the classroom in order to encourage social justice and give my students an equitable, fair education that also teaches them to respect their fellow classmates for all their diversities?

I worry about these questions because I do not want to indoctrinate unquestioning students or be accused of presenting a liberal bias, and I do not want make students who may need to hear these messages shut down to this message or for the entire course.  A useful framework for thinking about social justice education is proposed by Kathy Hytten, improved by Rebecca Taylor, and summarized here.

Everything we do as teachers–the texts and assignments we assign, the lessons and activities we lead, the relationships we cultivate, the way we respond to student questions, the atmosphere in our classroom, and the messages we send implicitly and explicitly–send a message that either reinforces or undermines normative behavior.  Therefore, social justice educators consider all of these factors to promote socially just and democratic values: concern for the common good, for minority rights, and for minority dignity; responsibility towards others; faith in the ability to solve problems; and belief in the importance of critical reflection, open flow of ideas, and assessing information. To encourage these values, teachers ask students to analyze and take positions on issues, and they challenge racism, sexism, classism, heteronormativity, etc. While challenging students to consider important issues or reconsider their normative behavior, teachers make students uncomfortable.

In response to the discomfort, and even suffering, that some students (especially those from dominant cultural positions) experience in social justice classes, Boler (2004a) and Conklin (2008) argued that we need to replace their felt sense of loss with compassion and with critical hope. Here they are gesturing toward an ethics of social justice teaching, one that at least initially honors the perspectives, however flawed, that students bring to their own learning and that validates them as multidimensional, complex, unfinished, and potentially thoughtful people. Moreover, such an ethic entails pedagogical relationships and practices of openness, careful attention, observation, dialogue, caring, and humility. It requires that teachers provide alternative ways of seeing and being that students can productively adopt, without feeling mired in guilt and blame. There is no doubt that responding to the challenge of resistant students is an important part of an ethics for activist teaching, and that this is never an easy task. This is especially true when it consumes an inordinate amount of teacher emotional labor and when allowing significant space for resistant students can (however inadvertently) actively harm marginalized students who may be silenced in the very same classrooms where teachers are attending to these privileged students. However, there is more that social justice teachers need to think about in terms of teacher ethics than navigating discomfort and engaging resistance. (Hytten, p. 4)

Hytten and Taylor suggest that teachers consider and adopt certain virtues of socially just teachers:

  • Reflective humility. This trait requires us to critically self-reflect on our own experiences: when are we frustrated or defensive? Then examine these situations from multiple perspectives so that we can better understand what is happening and challenge our own convictions. A similar and related virtue is:
  • Open-mindedness. This is an attitude that requires us to listen to multiple perspectives, new facts, and new explanations. A key component of this virtue is the recognition that our own ideas and beliefs might be wrong, so we should be on the look-out for better beliefs and ideas. As an ethical social justice teacher, then, you would share that your beliefs may be wrong and you are examining your own practices along with the students, and you would make sure that you discuss a variety of perspectives, as well as their pros and their cons, in class.
  • Sympathetic attentiveness. A sympathetically attentive person tries to understand someone else’s ideas and where they come from, even/especially if we disagree with them. From there, we could offer compelling alternatives, how limited the ideas may be, or see how it is actually a better idea than our own.  If we try to understand our students, we are much more likely for them to be open to us and to new ideas.

Related to these is the virtue of empathy, which takes it beyond a purely academic mindset and into an emotional one too. Additional virtues may be general calmness (except when outrage needs to be expressed), patience, trustworthiness, integrity, sincerity, and self-knowledge. Taylor offers a useful way to determine if these virtues are actually beneficial virtues to exhibit as a social justice teacher and try to teach to our students:

  1. What is the virtue? Virtues are intellectual or moral, and they are something that is pursued because of their intrinsic value. In this system, it is important to understand what exactly a person who exhibits this virtue would do.
  2. How does it relate to the idea of social justice? Does it encourage social justice or not?
  3. What are the internal or external conditions for its success? She highlights the idea that virtues may have external barriers (i.e. school and systemic barriers) and internal barriers (i.e. within the teachers). For example, with open-mindedness, a teacher may be too arrogant and think that, because he reached a certain conclusion the first time he considered an issue, it must be true.  Alternatively, the teacher may be too cowardly and not want to examine his own assumptions so he avoids reconsidering them. Essentially, this step is asking you to continuously reconsider how to exhibit and practically teach this virtue, including overcoming internal obstacles to it.

Like with other ethical guidelines, these do not necessarily tell you how to behave in every situation, but they are ways to guide your thoughts about how to act. In a way, this lack of prescription is nice because ethics are something you need to think about deeply and develop for yourself, just like social justice teachers ask their students to do.

Works Cited

Romans and the Other

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries sheStatue of Liberty.jpg
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

-Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

Ancient Rome can be a powerful lens through which to examine modern political issues.  How we treat foreigners is an enduring moral and ethical issue that has been thrust into the spotlight lately by the Syrian refugee crisis, the need for immigration reform in the United States, and the way that Islam has been perceived and manipulated within geopolitics. To help teach students about the treatment of foreigners (and what might be good or bad ways to treat them), I present this lesson plan.  It is not perfect, and it may be difficult to fit into some courses because it was designed to address an ethical issue rather than a text; but it is worth considering and perhaps it could inspire a discussion or class of your own within your actual curriculum or course.

First, either at home or in class, students read a packet that includes seven passages about how Romans treated people from other cities:

  • An annalistic account of a war with and victory over Pometia (Livy 2.17)
  • The end of the siege of Veii (Livy 5.21-22)
  • Caesar’s ethnographic account of the Gauls (BC 6.11-16)
  • Caesar admitting Gauls into the Senate (Suetonius, Julius, 76.3 and 80.1)
  • The Senate’s debate about enrolling Gauls in the Senate during Claudius’s reign (Tacitus, Ann., 11.23-25 — chosen instead of the inscription from Lugdunum because it presented the issue about the treatment of non-Romans in clearer ethical terms and in the format of a debate)
  • Tacitus’s account of Agricola “civilizing” some Britons (Agr. 20-21)
  • Part of Tacitus’s ethnographic account of the Germans (Ger. 3, 5, and 9)

N.B. The Claudian senatorial debate is a key passage because it is a very good illustration of this entire issue, so you could simplify this lesson plan to discuss only that passage or use this lesson plan to discuss that text.

SchweiRomansAndForeignersPacket

After each passage, there are several questions.  Ideally, students would answer these questions as they read.  You could have them answer them in groups or as part of their homework.  You could even assign seven groups one passage each.  The questions focused on these ideas:

  • Are the Romans at war with this Other?
  • How is the Other described?
  • How do the Romans treat the Other?
  • How is this treatment described (i.e. positively, negatively, objectively)?
  • How does the description of the Other relate to the treatment of the Other?

After students read the packet and answer the questions (at home), I would typically have students discuss their answers to questions in small groups.  This lets students remember what the passages are about and it allows peer-to-peer teaching to clear up some of the confusion.  While these discussions are happening, I would circulate around the room so I can get a sense of how well students understood each passage.

If you assigned one passage to each group, I would have the seven groups summarize the passages and take away points for the rest of the class.

Once students have a better understanding of all the individual passages, students would start comparing and contrasting how the Romans perceive and treat the Other in the passages–first briefly in small groups, and then more extensively as the whole class.  I would encourage students (explicitly or through guided questions) to consider the following themes:

  • Historical habits of treating the Other (especially as discussed in Tacitus, Ann. 11.23-25, but also with Rome’s liberal granting of citizenship [to manumitted slaves] compared to ancient Greek cities)
  • Treatment of enemies at war vs. treatment of people at peace
  • Civilized vs. uncivilized — similar to Rome vs. different from Rome
  • Connection between a Roman positive/negative perception of Other and positive/negative treatment of Other
  • How well informed are the Roman perceptions of the Other?

Some patterns will emerge from this discussion, some will not.  I would not force trends to emerge in the discussion, but I think the passages can all be related back to these themes somehow.  Once these themes have emerged and students are satisfied that the passages do indeed relate to these themes, I would ask students to begin relating them to their own world:

  • How did you react to some of these passages? (The first two examples about sacking cities and killing or enslaving survivors are good places to start for this question.)
  • How would the Other have reacted to some of these passages? (The Suetonius passage about Gallic Senators may be very helpful here)
  • Do we act similarly to the Romans?
  • Do we need to think of enemies in a negative light or as uncivilized?
  • How do our perceptions about the Other affect people’s views on refugees, immigrants, and Muslims? Can we improve our perceptions and knowledge about these groups?
  • How should we treat the Other if we are at war with them? if we are not at war with them? How do we distinguish between war and peace today?

 

Some things to consider and keep in mind about this lesson plan

  • Two examples (Caesar on the Gauls and Tacitus on the Germans) are ethnographic, and the conventions of the genre dictate that the authors remain somewhat objective.  The fact that these conventions exist suggest that there were some norms about how to think about the Other, so the lesson plan is talking about these norms (instead of perhaps the individual authors’ perspectives).  The analysis of norms is, in some ways, a more powerful analysis of the society.
  • The students may mistake their own reactions to, say, the Gauls’ use of human sacrifice for Caesar’s reactions to this practice.  So, depending on your interpretation of this passage, you can ask if the practices are described negatively or if the practice itself is mentioned to reflect negatively on the Gauls, or if Caesar doesn’t care.
  • The discussion is very open-ended and could open things up for some nasty comments, so be ready.
  • The passages are, in some ways, limited.  For example, they don’t mention anything about treatment of the Other with whom there are economic ties. Personally, I am not too worried about this because of how I interpret these texts and understand the Roman economy, but you could mention it in the discussion comparing the passages and ancient behaviors with the modern world and talking about ethics.
  • The lesson plan asks students to do things that are high up on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Learning, but I did arrange questions and activities in a way that would climb up the taxonomy as you progress through the worksheet and exercise. So be judicious of when you use this lesson plan with your students.
  • Similarly, drawing on the Taxonomy of Affective Learning, students may develop ideas about how one should act in relation to the Other, but there is no guarantee that they will put these ideals into practice.  This exercise is structured in a very intellectual way.  So you could encourage students to have empathy by asking students how the Auruncans or Veians or Gauls would have felt in these situations.  This empathetic response could then help guide the development of an ethical guideline, and move students higher up the affective taxonomy.  Additionally, you can return to these ideas in other class sessions–after all, the Romans frequently interacted with other cultures–in order to reinforce the students’ memory of the analysis and their likelihood of following the new ethical standards you develop as a class.

Despite these caveats, this is an important to consider and Rome offers one way to consider it.  Admittedly, this lesson plan was developed in order to address an ethical issue, not in order to discuss these texts, or even a specific issue about the ancient world–you could easily adapt it to discuss a specific text with your students.  Nevertheless, there are important lessons or ideas about Roman culture that students can take away from these texts:

  • After winning a battle, Romans often burned enemy cities and enslaved survivors.
  • The Roman elite was comprised of people from many cities, not just Rome.
  • Romans too had disagreements about how to treat the Other.
  • There were generic conventions about how to discuss the Other in ethnography.
  • The Roman people could voice their opinions through graffiti.

How do we make students happier?

I keep coming back to this theme, partly because of my desire to help students’ emotional health, partly because students’ feelings about classes affect what they learn from those classes or how they apply their knowledge to their life, partly because students’ emotions affect the classroom environment, and partly because students’ emotions affect enrollment and retention rates. So wouldn’t it be great if someone could tell us exactly how to make students happier?

It turns out someone can. In the article, “The Relationship Between Teacher Management Communication Style and Affective Learning,” Rebecca M. ChoryRebecca M. Chory and James C. McCroskey sought to understand how Management Communication Styles (MCS) affected student satisfaction and affective learning.  The MCS idea characterizes the way that supervisors manage their subordinates. There is a continuum between supervisor-centered communication styles (in which the supervisor makes decisions and tells the subordinates) and subordinate-centered styles (in which the subordinates make decisions). This continuum can be illustrated by four verbs: tell, sell, consult, and join. Earlier studies of businesses show that employee satisfaction is greater when it is more employee-centered and involves more employees, and greatest when the “consult” style is used.

In order to understand how this idea worked in the classroom, 108 students (53 male, 55 female) in communications classes at West Virginia University completed a survey about the teacher in the class prior to the communications class, but 16 incomplete surveys were omitted. The survey asked students to numerically evaluate the teacher’s MCS, the teacher’s body language, and the student’s affective domain (which Chory and McCroskey understood to be related to positive feelings towards a subject, ranging from selective attention to behavioral commitment to internalization). The survey suggests that teachers’ MCS was positively correlated to students’ affective learning. The following findings are also noteworthy:

  • Class size, student age, and teacher type (i.e. professor, visiting professor, or TA) did not affect affective learning. I should note that the age range within a college class was most likely not that large.
  • The more students attend class, the more they liked the class. It is unclear which causes the other, but they both might cause each other.
  • As classes became more interactive between teacher and students, more student-centered, and offered students more control over the class, students were happier. This is in line with the ideas behind collaborative learning and group work. So be a facilitator of peer-to-peer learning and not a sage on stage.
  • A major factor in the students’ perceptions of a teacher’s MCS was nonverbal immediacy. According to the On the Cutting Edge website hosted by Carleton College, a nonverbally immediate teacher has a relaxed posture and does not use a monotone voice, gestures while talking, moves around the room while teaching, looks and smiles at the class, avoids looking at notes or the board/PowerPoint, appropriately touches students, removes barriers between students, and dresses professionally but casually (perhaps becoming more casually dressed throughout the term). Even though it is not discussed in this study, it is worth noting that verbal immediacy involves using pronouns like “we” instead of “you” and “I”, calling on students by name, allowing students to call the teacher by name, allowing for small talk, providing feedback, and asking how students are feeling.

A taxonomy of Affective Learning

Last week’s post focused on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Learning.  Today’s post focuses on Krathwohl’s Taxonomy of the Affective Domain which focuses on perceptions, feelings, emotions, and belief systems.  And the emotional side of things cannot simply be ignored, even if many of our learning objectives and course aims focus on the cognitive domain. Unlike the taxonomy of cognitive learning, I think the “verbs” in learning objectives are less helpful for understanding the affective domain taxonomy than examples. So here are the levels of affective learning and examples:

Level Definition Examples
Receiving A person is aware of, or sensitive to, ideas, material, or phenomena and is willing to tolerate them.
  • Listening to a discussion of a new topic
  • Knowing that homework is assigned
  • Aware that racism exists
Responding A person not only responds to a phenomenon but reacts to it in some way.
  • Completing homework assignments
  • Reading beyond the assignment
  • Reading for enjoyment
  • Questions new ideas in order to fully understand them
  • Participates in team problem-solving activities
Valuing A person shows some involvement or commitment to a new item. These ideas are often considered under “attitude” and “appreciation.”
  • Assumes responsibility for getting the group to work well
  • Participating in campus blood drive
  • Informs a teacher about something they care about
  • Providing food to the homeless
Organization A person relates a new value to the other values that they already hold and attempts to bring them together into an internally consistent philosophy.
  • Accepts responsibility for one’s actions
  • Recognizes own abilities and values, and then developing realistic aspirations
  • Accepting professional ethics
  • Prioritizing time well to meeting everyone’s needs
Characterization A person actions consistently with their values and internalized philosophy.
  • A person has a consistent and predictable belief and behavior system
  • A person follows their professional ethics
  • Revising judgments in light of new information

This taxonomy is more difficult to assess, and some of these categories are very broad.  Nevertheless, I think it is very helpful when we try to understand students’ behavior and think about responding to students’ declining resilience and emotional health.

Many of our thoughts about students’ behavior are in the “Receiving” and “Responding” levels.  Did students do their homework? Did they even know about the homework? Did they do it well? Did students know that Caesar was dictator of Rome? (Affective: Receiving) Did students answer the question about Caesar’s dictatorship correctly? (Affective: Responding, Cognitive: Remembering/Knowledge)

But the other levels are incredibly important.  Students may not do the homework, or do it well, if they do not value the assignment or the subject we teach.  Students’ resilience and emotional health are also tied up in the “Valuing,” “Organization,” and “Characterization” levels.  These are some of the hardest things to teach, so it is no surprise that some students struggle with them.  Indeed, there are also ethical issues involved:

  • Is it right to change students’ attitudes and values?
  • What differentiates changing students’ values from indoctrination?
  • How do we guard against students adopting unwanted values, such as racism?

How do we help students move from “Receiving” and “Responding” to, at least, “Valuing”?

Recent educational research, summarized by Thomas Koballa on a Carleton College website, offers several insights to helping motivate students:

  • Motivation can be intrinsic (reading Latin because it’s fun) or extrinsic (reading Latin because I want an A in Latin class).
  • Learning goals focus on the challenge and mastery of a task, but performance goals are often related to social status, pleasing teachers, and avoiding “extra” work.  Many of us many focus on the former and our students on the latter.
  • When students believe they have more control over a task or assignment (i.e. self-determination), they will benefit more from the task.  This can be as simple as choosing partners for group work or choosing from a list of possible essay topics, or it can be as complex as designing one’s own assignment.
  • A student’s confidence in their ability to perform a given task to achieve a desired goal (i.e. self-efficacy) can be very important.
  • Anxiety is normal, and moderate amounts of anxiety motivate learning.

With these insights into motivation, how do we actually motivate students and make sure they are at least in the “Responding,” if not “Valuing” or higher categories? According to a summary, and bibliography, of research by Karin Kirk:

  • Give frequent, positive feedback that supports students’ confidence.
  • Encourage their belief in self-efficacy by assigning tasks that are not too easy nor too difficult.
  • Create an open and positive environment in the classroom and school.
  • Help students feel like they are valued within the learning community.
  • Create learning activities that are relevant to students’ lives. Use local examples, events in the news, popular technology, and connections to students’ culture and lives (i.e. Expanding the canon).
  • Provide choices for partners, assignments, and/or test questions.
  • Seek and provide students with additional role models, such as guest speakers, fellow students, or other peers.
  • Use models that students can identify with because of gender, ethnicity, social circles, interests, clothing, or age.  These can be characters in stories, Romans, scholars, and/or tutors.
  • Encourage a sense of belonging and community.  Group work helps, but a teacher can also help a lot by being warm, open, enthusiastic, friendly, helpful, and prepared and by encouraging student participation.
  • Be supportive: listen, give hints and encouragement, show empathy, and respond to students’ questions and concerns.  Mid-term course evaluations are a more formal way of showing this.
  • When students are struggling academically, have low confidence, or low motivation, strategize with them and encourage metacognition.

 Resources about Krathwohl’s Taxonomy