As a Black woman who grew up in Hartford, I know all too well the potentially fracturing effects of not teaching the Whole Child. I was mistakenly labeled as a special education student instead of having my social and emotional needs addressed. After discussions about my home life (being separated from my parents and siblings and placed in foster care), being taught social skills, ethics and coping mechanisms, I began to flourish. I was able to cope with my circumstances, become more socially aware, build relationships and learn how to problem solve. In my case, addressing the Whole Child meant reaching my full academic potential and pursuing a career as a teacher. I grew up experiencing the “public school” experience through the eyes of a minority student living in a poor socioeconomic community. I now have the opportunity to view my neighborhood school district through a teacher’s lens.
I believe the one essential element all educators can agree on is that our mission is to educate our children and prepare them to be continuous learners and globally competitive citizens. All children should be afforded a quality education. Achieving this feat means setting high expectations, accommodating their different learning styles and tending to their individual social, emotional and academic needs or the Whole Child. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) puts out the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) every 3 years. According to the latest results of PISA, The United States is still being outperformed by a substantial amount of countries falling below the OECDs average in math, reading and science. Click here for latest results of the 2012 PISA.
Low performance is tied to the socioeconomic status of our students...
Originally published in Transforming Education. Read the rest of the blog here.