At this time of year, both students and teachers find themselves in classrooms with new faces. How do teachers cultivate their own and students’ creativity and foster new lasting connections? Here’s an excerpt from Zing! Seven Creativity Practices for Educators and Students, Pat’s book supporting inventive teaching.
“Students sense our interest by the way we establish connections with them, in who they are and what matters to them. We’re all part of the same family, made of the same clay, our skin and bones. When a student feels your respect, he can take risks, essential for writers. You can create a community, a safe place to gather, write, and explore. Some teachers still perceive their bright Latino or African American students as exceptions, teachers who doubt the power of high expectations and effective support. How do we erase the dangerous foolishness that equates diversity with deficiency, inferiority, low standards, or incompetence?
It’s challenging but doable, dear teacher, once we remove the filters we’ve been taught to wear, once we really view our students and families as “created equal,” as full of surprises. Wise teachers form connections by steadily assessing their students’ many levels including their cultural and previous educational experiences.”