The issue I found most interesting this week was in relation to stopping childhood adversity from becoming a life sentence. I have had the privilege while at the University of Northern Iowa to have been selected to take professional development classes with Dr. Sarah Montgomery; through these classes I began to develop the skills necessary to teach the 21st century learner; the more time I spend at UNI, the more developed they become. One of the most important 21st century skills I have learned to date is that of differentiated instruction; I believe this is what it could take to stop adversity from becoming a life sentence!
For a teacher to gain the skills needed to teach the 21st century learner, they need to redefine what school means; they need to redefine what becoming a teacher means to them.
A classroom of the past consisted of an atmosphere where teachers new everything; mistakes were not welcome; teachers questioned, students listened; the overall goal for students was to receive good grades; students memorized facts; students completed worksheets; one teaching style was used to address all students and rules were enforced.
A classroom of the future should consist of an atmosphere where the teacher is learning along with the students; mistakes are welcome because they equal learning; kids ask questions; the overall goal for students is to learn; students solve problems; students create; one teaching style is not used to address all students and rules are unnecessary.
As a teacher, we may be the only chance for the student to have a safe, stable, nurturing relationship, a relationship that will help the student develop the skills needed to reach their full potential. International best – selling author Barbara Colorose says it best, “If kids come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job easier. If they do not come to us from strong, healthy, functioning families, it makes our job more important.”
I found a great website that goes into greater detail about adverse childhood experiences; I even think they mention the study from the video clip shown in class! This website is a division of the Department of Health & Human Services; their website allows you to search their programs by topic such as children & youth, communities, emergency response & recovery, families, financial security, Hispanic outreach, homelessness, human trafficking, LGBT, Native Americans/Tribes, and refugees. The Administration For Children and Families’ Early Adversity Program can be found under the topic children & youth; their program consists of projects such as the Buffering Toxic Stress Consortium. Check out their website at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/. I would like to leave the reader with an interesting tidbit of information I found on their website…