Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.
How aware are you and your colleagues of the impact our choice of words have on developing students’ agency and identity? Can you give examples?
I belief that the impact of choice of words develops the identity of students in a positive or a negative aspect based on experiences of encouragement or discouragement. For instance, as a young child, my third grade teacher would scold me during math lessons and made me believe that I was not in math in comparison to other students in the class. My perception of my own identify changed in middle school because I had a growth mindset, in which, I was open to new possibilities and opportunities. Thus, allowing me to have aspirations to become a confident educator someday. By keeping the end in mind through positive choice words, I was able to become confident in my math abilities. As an educator, I am aware through personal experience how an individuals' choice words can help develop students' agency and identity. As a result, I encourage all my students, especially my female students, that math is an easy concept because I was told otherwise as a child.
Commit to 5 things you are willing to do this semester that will make your school choose words wisely?
1. Continue to support and demonstrate the 7 Habits to foster positive relationships in the school during weekly professional development for certificated staff
2. Attempt to provide a professional development for classified staff on language usage on 7 Habits to increase adult-student interactions
3. Increase classroom praise and affirmations to build students' identity
4. Continue to demonstrate proximity to show students to foster a community
5. Empower students though redirection instead of coercion (pg. 77)
Language "creates realities" for purpose, pride and power
What role does school play in building students’ agency and identity?
Schools play a crucial role in building students' identities and realities. Each child spends approximately six hours each day. That's a given 30 hours per week, therefore, a school plays an enormous role on student's development of their own self. To most students, the school environment is the place a child spends most of his/her time. As a result,
What would you do, if anything, to make using choice words a more conscious and accountable school wide practice if you were the school leader?
As a school leader, I would share Denton (2007) statement on how language has three goals as teachers: "1) help students develop self-control, 2) build community, and foster academic skills and knowledge" (pg. 77). As a result, language can be a gateway into a positive relationship and foster academic achievement. By thinking about "the end in mind", can facilitate the important role that words/language have on children. We all have the same end in mind, which is to foster leaders for the 21st century. This common mission should make staff members accountable for their own practices inside and outside the classroom.
What could you do, if anything, to make the use of choice words a more conscious and accountable personal practice as well as one embraced by others on your site? Are those things within your sphere of influence?
Based on Kagan Cooperative Learning methods, a practice that I would encourage and embrace collaboration is a practice called 'accountable talk' that is utilized in my classroom. Through the language frames on figure 4.1 on page 88, the practice can encourage courage and respect, which is significantly aligned to Habit 4, Think Win-Win. The habit fosters the ability to speak respectfully about a topic and be able to be considerate to listen to other's ideas respectfully.
During IDEAS 2.0, educators have set norms during collaborations, as a result, our time is efficient. My sphere of influence includes my team for IDEAS 2.0 from other fourth grade teachers in Santee and my amazing grade level partner, Cristal Herrera. Also, the practice of the norms have lead to habits of maturity- help them express themselves and recognize in a positive and encouraging relationship between each other.
Fisher, D., Frey, N., & Pumpian. I. (2012). How to Create a Culture of Achievement In Your Schools and Classrooms. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.