In addition to improving students' academic performance, research shows that supportive schools also help prevent a host of negative consequences, including isolation, violent behavior, dropping out of school, and suicide. Central to a supportive school are teachers, administrators, and other caring adults who take a personal interest in each student and in the success of each student.
School and communities committed to educating the whole child connect students with caring adults throughout a student's school career through a variety of positive relationships. These relationships reinforce academic achievement and social, civic, ethical, and emotional development.
Ensuring that each student is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged requires us to continually ask questions and examine evidence related to implementation. ASCD's indicators of a whole child approach provide a guide for continual school and community improvement and serve as a definition of what a whole child approach to education truly requires. Download the set of supported indicators (PDF).
From the Whole Child Blog
Students enter the classroom with their own specific learning needs, styles, abilities, and preferences. They also bring with them their own cultures, backgrounds, and personal histories. In culturally responsive classrooms, teachers make standards-based content and curricula accessible to students and teach in a way that students can understand from their varying cultural perspectives. If the goal is for each student to succeed academically, how are we using the cultural capital available in our classrooms to capture attentions, engage students, and make curricula relevant?
On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, Sean Slade, ASCD's director of whole child programs, and guests explore what it means to, as Gloria Ladson-Billings writes, "empower students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes"; how to create a positive classroom learning community; and what supports teachers need to serve their diverse students.
Listen to the episode below or download.
- Paul Gorski is an associate professor in New Century College and research fellow in the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and founder of EdChange. His work and passion is social justice activism and areas of scholarly focus include anti-poverty activism and education, economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice, and animal rights. Gorski's most recent book, coauthored with Seema Pothini, is Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education. He is also the coauthor, with Katy Swalwell, of the March 2015 Educational Leadership article "Equity Literacy for All." Connect with Gorski on Twitter @pgorski.
- Andrew Miller has spent many years in education as a classroom teacher, online teacher, curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher leader, and education consultant. He has used his skills in authentic intellectual work, online education, project-based learning, game-based learning/gamification, 21st century skills, and culturally responsive teaching to create engaging learning environments for all students. Miller currently serves as a faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education and ASCD. He is also an avid blogger and writes regularly for Inservice, Edutopia, and the Huffington Post on the subjects of student engagement, formative assessment, the Common Core State Standards, project-based learning, and technology integration. Connect with Miller on Twitter @betamiller.
In a special one-on-one conversation, Slade spoke with Geneva Gay, an educational researcher who has contributed significantly to the progression of culturally relevant teaching. Gay is a professor of education at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she teaches multicultural education and general curriculum theory. She is nationally and internationally known for her scholarship in multicultural education, particularly as it relates to curriculum design, staff development, classroom instruction, and intersections of culture, race, ethnicity, teaching, and learning. She has written a number of books and book chapters, including the book Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice, and is a member of the authorship team for the Scott Foresman New Elementary Social Studies Series.
How can teachers make their classrooms and instruction safe and effective for students from a wide range of backgrounds?
Whole Child Examples
Anansi Charter School’s mission is to provide a nurturing and supportive environment where children of all races, creeds, religions, and special needs develop a love of learning and acquire a strong foundation on which to build a lifetime of knowledge.
All Supported Examples
On this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, ASCD's Sean Slade and guests explore what it means to empower students, how to create a positive classroom learning community, and what supports teachers need to serve their diverse students.