For a couple of hours every week, I have the wonderful opportunity of working with grade 1 and 2 students, helping them with their literacy and numeracy skills. It is a treasured experience to witness their excitement as their world starts to open up with every new word and concept learned. There is no question that success in learning requires the use of specific strategies and lots of practice. The other key ingredients to learning are of course, motivation and a sense of confidence from the teacher, and in turn, the student.
Dr. Yvette Jackson, Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, writes about the “Pedagogy of Confidence” that is evident in the best of classrooms and schools to inspire high intellectual performance. She states with strong conviction, backed by compelling research that all students deserve and are capable of responding to this emphasis and approach.
Based on the integration of educational research conducted in various contexts over a number of years, along with her own depth of experience with a range of students and teachers, Dr. Jackson argues that the approach that is often utilized for motivating and attending to the needs of Gifted Students is really one that we should be taking with ALL students.
In her book, The Pedagogy of Confidence, Dr. Jackson challenges educators to use the following practices:
- Identify and activate student strengths (don’t focus on their weaknesses)
- Build strong, meaningful relationships with students (learn mediation skills)
- Elicit and expect high intellectual performance (if you expect it, they will achieve)
- Provide enrichment to all (learn outside the school walls)
- Integrate prerequisites for academic learning (scaffold learning to support mastery)
- Situate learning in the lives of students (know your students’ cultural and social context and make learning relevant)
- Amplify student voice (they have something important to say)
Through a thoughtful, intentional approach, Dr. Jackson integrates best practices and offers a practical pathway, many tools and professional development to educators in all contexts (including her focus on urban settings) to bring out the best in their students.
I can’t wait to read her new book, written with her colleague, Dr. Veronica McDermott, entitled, Aim High, Achieve More.
Addendum: Since the writing of this blog, Veronica McDermott has written another compelling book! Check out: We Must Say No to the Status Quo: Educators as Allies in the Battle for Social Justice.(2017)