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Archive for September, 2012

I’ve often said that I cannot fix in a few short semesters what the world has done to damage a student. As a principal of mine once said “The parents didn’t keep the good kids at home today, they sent you all they had!” It’s that home that sometimes worries me.

At a recent teacher conference, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Henry L. Johnson talk about the myriad influences on a child’s education. He mentioned the usual things like economics, neighborhood, civic and religious affiliations, etc. Then he said something that really caught my attention. He said that a family’s conversations had a profound impact on a student’s success.

One family’s conversation might be “How was school? Do you have any homework? Is everything going alright?” Another’s conversation, on the other hand might be more like “Clean up the kitchen! Get off that phone! Shut up!” And all peppered with curses and threatenings.

Negative conversations at home affect learning at school. –Dr. Henry Johnson

Everything a child comes to school to learn is filtered through everything he already knows from home. Children bring their own culture with them, and the fireworks begin when they try to impose that value set on the outside world–that is, your classroom.

This problem is too vast to try to give you some simple answer (even if I had one–and I don’t) but my hope is that when you spot “that student,” (and you’ll recognize them,) you’ll stop to think about what kinds of conversations created that behavior.

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