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Teaching and Learning

 

Teaching and Learning

This theme has to do with everything that happens in the classroom. Who we’re learning from, how we’re learning, what we’re learning, where we’re learning, etc.

 
 

Issues happening now
what this looks like in our schools:

  • Majority white, middle class teaching staff makes it hard for us to relate and connect

  • Many courses feel irrelevant to our lives- we’re often bored and don’t see the point!

  • Racist curriculum only teaches about white history and white perspectives

  • English Language Learner (ELL) students are not receiving the services they need

  • There is too much focus on standardized testing, which does not measure intelligence, creativity, or anything else important

  • Many courses don’t honor the fact that we all have different learning styles- some of us are visual, some are audio, some of us learn better hands-on, etc.

  • Most classes have too many worksheets and not enough creativity and art, this can lead to us acting out because we are bored

  • Many of us are not being prepared for college or a real career

  • Many of our classes have 28 students in them, which is too many for real learning to happen

  • By now it’s pretty proven that the SAT, ACT, and all standardized tests have a racial and class bias; why is our system still built around them?

  • We have TOO MANY SUBSTITUTE TEACHERS!!!! We also have long-term substitutes who are not prepared and/or certified to teach the course (a long-term sub in Spanish who does not speak Spanish)

  • Many of us do not have good relationships with many of our teachers

  • Some of us are not offered Honors or AP classes by our guidance counselors, even though we might want them. Even if all our grades aren’t good, if we have a subject we really like, we should have the option of taking an advanced course in that subject.

  • Not enough art, drama, theater courses

  • Online learning doesn’t really help you learn - and yet that’s what is often given to students who are already behind

  • Not enough Black and Brown teachers and staff; those we do have, don’t stay.

  • Not enough teachers and staff who speak Spanish or Creole

  • Guidance counselors are over-worked & there aren’t enough of them

  • Some classes are too easy! This can also lead to us getting bored and acting out

  • Teachers yelling, students rebelling.

solutions
& recommendations:

  • Funding for a “Grow Your Own Teacher” program such as the Portland Teaching Program that helps Black and Latino students who graduate from NLHS with scholarships for college. They then commit to coming back and teaching in New London Public Schools for at least 5 years. This solves 2 problems at once- it’s good jobs for youth from our community and means we have more teachers who are from our community!

  • Curriculum needs to change. We had 2 big wins this past year in this area! The creation of an Ethnic Studies class at New London High School and the passing of HB7082: An Act Concerning the Inclusion of Black and Latino Studies in Public School Curriculum which will require all high schools in the state to offer a Black and Latino Studies elective course. And yet, this is still just the beginning. The long-term goal is for a racially diverse teaching staff to teach an explicitly anti-racist curriculum in all subjects.

  • Invest in anti-racism and anti-Black racism training for admin, teachers, and staff

  • We know this change has to come at the state and federal level, but less focus on standardized testing and more focus on our education and our well-being as a whole

  • Focus on teacher retention, especially teacher of color retention. When teachers leave, especially teachers of color, alarm bells should go off. Create an opportunity for them to feel safe enough to truthfully say why they are leaving.

  • Create a way for students to have input on what courses are offered in the future

  • NO ROWS in class, why can’t we talk to each other and have real conversations?

  • Opportunities to do internships outside of school for credit

  • Our schools have students that speak over 40 languages!; ELL students should feel celebrated and prideful about their languages, not shamed or marginalized. Create ways for languages other than English to be respected, shared, and admired by staff and students

  • Fun, interesting, and complex learning!

  • Offer more electives and course options

  • Music and art and creativity in the classroom!!!!!

 
 

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