Core Values in Action: Play to Student Strengths
At Mills Teacher Scholars we support teachers and leaders to build their inquiry stance, allowing understanding student learning to drive instructional improvement. Kindergarten teacher scholar Kate Carlin’s inquiry journey is an example of this core value in action. Read Kate’s full story in her own words here>> Why Aren’t They Talking? Learning to Leverage Student Strengths.
Kate wondered why 70 percent of her students weren’t engaged in her reading lesson. Did they not understand the academic content? Were they experiencing language barriers? Were they shy? Or was it something else? Mills Teacher Scholars has partnered with Kate’s school, Lincoln Elementary in Oakland Unified to use collaborative inquiry to learn more about how their students are acquiring academic language and to explore how they can build students’ social and emotional skills in ways that support their language development.
Above all, Kate wanted to understand the connection between her students’ use of academic talk during the lesson and the writing they produced during the independent work time that followed. Her assumption was that the talk supported the idea development in their writing. She brought her question to her Mills Teacher Scholars inquiry session.
That’s when she had a breakthrough. Her teacher scholar colleagues helped her reframe student success. Instead of asking how to “fix” what the students were doing, how could she identify the skills that they brought to the table? How could she play to their strengths?
Read Kate’s full story in her own words here>> Why Aren’t They Talking? Learning to Leverage Student Strengths.