I did my big culminating research project for grad school on dropout prevention and here's what I learned in a nutshell. I could go on about who is likely to drop out and what happens to them if they do, but let's assume you get that it's really important to keep kids in school and go from there.
3.Positive Peer Culture
Notice anything? Three of the five are things we can actually impact as teachers! We control how engaging the curriculum is, how well we communicate that we care, and the culture we create in our classrooms.
Let's focus on teacher connectedness.Here's the problem - most teachers really care about their students, but that is NOT ENOUGH. Kids need to know it! So we need to show them we care in ways they understand.
Here are 5 research-based, effective ways to show we care:
- Call parents and say nice things about their kids!
- Have impromptu conversations with kids daily
- Set goals with kids and hold them to those goals. Revisit them frequently.
- Make the environment welcoming. This means a comfortable classroom and a positive peer culture.
- HIDE IT when the kids get on your nerves! All those groans and eye rolls say "you are annoying" and "I wish I didn't have to deal with you." They can crush kids.
I implemented these religiously and documented it and student achievement increased in my classroom. You may think you do these things, but tracking it and holding yourself accountable, makes you do it more.
What would you add to this list? How can we SHOW kids we care? Which of these is easier said than done? Please comment below!
Part 2 of this series... Creating a positive peer culture!
For the full paper and references, click here.