Among those articles are several talking about some specific research finding that poverty causes a lack of self-control and perseverance and it’s not the other way around. In other words, we have just a certain amount of “cognitive bandwidth” which can be overwhelmed by worry and concern related to “scarcity.”
Another quote from the piece – this one from the NPR host – says:
To be clear, it’s not that poor people focus on immediate needs because that’s all they want to think about. It’s all they can think about. Scarcity captures the mind. In fact, the tunnel vision produced by scarcity can actually lower how you perform on an IQ test.
On Monday, I introduced this question to the entire class and, in the middle of discussion, I thought of the phrase, “Everyone is a teacher.” I shared that English is hard to learn, they only had a few years of high school left, and that it was going to take more than one teacher to help everybody learn. So we all had to be teachers. I shared some ideas to illustrate the concept (“I’m a teacher when I speak English because I’m an example”; “I’m a teacher when I come to school because I’m a model for others”) and then invited students to contribute other ideas. They came fast and furious, and students made posters like the one at the top of this post.
Students have taken it seriously at different levels but there is clearly one huge benefit – It’s far more energizing to students and to me if I say to off-task student “Everyone is a teacher!” than saying “Angela, please get back to work.”
We’ll see for how long it’s effective, but it certainly can’t hurt….
There are some obvious errors that students will fix later this week, as well as making comments on their classmates’ videos. I’ve got to say that Adobe Spark is just about the easiest and most versatile Web 2.0 tool out there. It’s great for speaking practice, and students love showing their videos in class.
StoryShares lets teachers create virtual classrooms for free and offers a collection of books that students can read. Even better, there’s an option that provides audio of the text in a pleasing-to-the-ear-voice.
The best part of the site, though, is that students can also write and publish their own books to share.
Right now, students have to register by their own email. That’s pretty cumbersome, and I’ve suggested to them that they create an option that lets teachers add students, which is how similar sites operate. In addition, they don’t provide the ability for students to annotate text right now, but say they’ll have that up and operating in a couple of months.
However, it did get thinking about how to take it a step further: Perhaps I should do a quick classwide discussion of that “Great Motivating Question,” get students to brainstorm ways what they do could benefit their classmates and, then, a week later, have everyone try to think of at least one way each student has helped them in some way (even if it was not directly and more as a model or inspiration). A danger, of course, is that some students could get overlooked. However, I figure I can handle that by asking one or two class “stars” to make sure they come up with something for everyone.
I’m sure other teachers had done this kind of acknowledgment “circle” before. If you have, I’d love to hear how you did it.