Thursday, March 23, 2017

Words Matter: The Repercussions of What We Say - And Don't Say - to Students

Words Matter: The Repercussions of What We Say - And Don't Say - to Students:

Words Matter: The Repercussions of What We Say – And Don’t Say – to Students

mica pollock schooltalk

In everyday conversation, relying on labels and falling back on “scripts” is an easy but superficial way to talk about something that we may not know that much about (even if we think we do). This can be harmless enough, but it depends on the setting and circumstances. When we communicate with our students, the stakes are very high, says Mica Pollock. Using labels and other uninformed comments about their “groups,” intelligence and communities slows students down. When it’s done right, however, teacher-student communication can be a powerful tool for equity – the focus of Pollock’s new book, “Schooltalk: Rethinking What We Say About – and to – Our Students Every Day.”
In addition to making a strong case for redesigning “schooltalk,” the book is full of tools, resources, and action plans educators to can use to, in Pollock’s words, “match their speech to their values.”  Pollock, director of the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence at the University of California, San Diego and a former high school teacher, recently spoke with NEA Today
Tell us about the ideas behind “Schooltalk.”
Mica Pollock: Schooltalk is about turning educators’ attention to the consequences of our most everyday, routine language. Every communication about a young person in schools is an action with serious equity implications. What we say shapes how adults think about and treat students, how students feel about themselves and their peers, and who gets which dollars, teachers, daily supports, and opportunities to learn.
If we pay attention to how we talk when we label students, discuss their outcomes, describe their “intelligence” or their communities, or describe their progress, their lives, and the opportunities they have and need, we have a powerful lever for constant equity effort in school. Part of that is responding to classic underinformed or denigrating comments about students’ “groups,” intelligence, or communities, for example.
So it’s about supporting young people whenever we talk. We are in this profession to support young people, right? So we just need to keep asking which schooltalk is Words Matter: The Repercussions of What We Say - And Don't Say - to Students:

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