Week 11 Dira Cumberbatch

The relationship between a student and teacher plays an important role. In my school our English teacher is white and the students who are 85% African American have a hard time making a connection with him and this causes a lot of classroom troubles and disconnect in the classroom. He comes to me sometimes so we can talk and I can hear his frustration and discomfort when the students give him a hard time. Landson-Billings article speaks about the education gap between students of color but mostly African American students and white students. He discusses how the African American students are affected by socio-economic issues and how it’s important that a teacher/ student relationship is established to maximize student success.

From a science teacher perspective, to comprehend a text this means you are able to grasp the central idea, make connections between the text and the real world, support the central idea with evidence from the text and make connections between topics. Being able to comprehend a text is very important in education. It is a skill which can be used outside of school but it is very important during a lesson. In my opinion, all teachers are literacy teachers, students are coming to you with low level reading and writing skills and in order for them to master your content area there are times you have to reteach certain literacy skills, promote more writing and teach students how to justify their answers. Majority of my students are amongst the city’s lowest third population, for this reason I have made it mandatory to justify their answers for multiple choice questions. I did this because I wanted to promote more writing in my science classroom, allow my students the ability to practice more literacy skills. So far it has been working well with my students. For my ICT classes I have to work closely with my co teacher to be able to reach all students. We make modifications and use scaffolding tools together to maximize student success. I try my hardest to reach each student on a personal level. I make sure to learn their names and speak to them one on one at least once when the school year begins. My school is very small, it is possible to get to know each student on a personal level.

I found Katie Scurba’s article to be very interesting because I have always believed in the points she made in this article. My husband is an African American and my brother is Hispanic, my son is a mixture and seeing both my husband’s struggles as an African American man and my brother’s struggles as a Hispanic male this has open my eyes to a lot of issues black and Hispanic males in my classes face day to day. Scurba talks about the disconnect students have with literacy, she said this is due to the obstacles and challenges they face outside of school. I believe that until you walk in a man of color shoes can you understand the challenges they indeed face outside of a safe environment. She also discusses how literacy strategies like “mirror” for students of color are not always the most effective because there is disconnect between a student’s identities and how they understand a text.

Recently in my school they read an English article about fencing and a lot of the male students didn’t understand what the sport fencing consist of. I thought to myself how disconnected they are from things outside of their neighborhoods and everyday lives. I am going to try and incorporate ways to connect my students to the text. I will practice to find a student voice in the text rather than find a student look in the text. This made me reflect on all the non-European scientists I have on my classroom walls. Am I just looking for the thing that looks like my student? So I am going to search for an article that my students voice is present in. I enjoyed this week’s reading because it showed me there are many interpersonal strategies we as teachers can use to improve literacy engagement and maximize student success.

    • Colleen Vogle
      Colleen Vogle

      Hi Dira,

      I enjoy reading your post this week, it was very relatable. Just a few weeks ago I had the same revelations as you. I was looking around my classroom and thinking about how best I can help my students see the scientist in themselves and how should I use my classroom setting to make the instant change. I went on amazon right away and got these two posters. 

      I turn it in to a mini research project, where my students had to pick one of the persons on the poster and do a research project on the person and present it to the class. I have two students present on a person per a week, thus far learning about a new scientist that is of African heritage, helps them to build connection between their inventions and contributions to the Science community at large and whats been thought in my classroom. 

      I too believe in practice to make doing the work of an educator to be rewarding, keep focus and your students educational growth at the forefront and the core for a productive generation will be in place.

      • Gerald Ardito
        Gerald Ardito


        This really jumped out at me:

        Majority of my students are amongst the city’s lowest third population, for this reason I have made it mandatory to justify their answers for multiple choice questions. 

        I would love to know more about how this is going.

        • Dira Cumberbatch
          Dira Cumberbatch

          Thanks Colleen this is great I will be purchasing them thank you for this!!!!

        Group B

        Here is the online home for Group B.
        Sub-Group of ED 656 - Fall 2018

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