Ready to discover and leverage learners’ unique and diverse assets and ways of learning?
Embrace dynamic relationships
You’re here to continue your journey, embracing teaching and learning as a dynamic relational human exchange. The next step? Discover and leverage learners’ unique and diverse assets and ways of learning.
Across this journey, you will be prompted to record your answers during some activities. You can record or type them on your own device and save the files so you can return to them later. If you see the option to take notes within the text boxes, you can print and/or email them to yourself at the end of the activity for your personal use. You can also access this Experience Journey digitally if you prefer.
Think of a learning experience (either inside or outside of formal education) that really played to your strengths and where you got to do something you were good at or learn in a way that was very comfortable for you. Tell a story about that experience. Who was there? What was happening? When did it occur? How did you feel? Why was it different from other experiences? Do your best to put yourself in that particular space and time and describe what precisely was happening that contributed to your experience.
Record your answers
Record your answers on your own device. You can refer back to them later.
Let’s watch this video from MIT Teaching Systems Lab, which features high school teacher Angela Daniel describing how she uses asset framing to support her students to thrive.
View the video twice to hear what Angela and her student, 10th grader Daniel, have to say. These repeated viewings are essential to deepening your understanding, as we will be prompting you to listen with different “ears” or orientations.
- Reflecting on the media, what resonated with you as a learner?
- Angela’s asset framing helps students be brave in educational settings, creating space for them to do their best work. Think about learning experiences that you, your child, or someone you know has had where it was clear the educator saw and valued learner strengths. How did it make you/them feel as a learner? How did it affect your/their learning?
- In the video, Angela says her 9th and 10th graders are “great at listing their deficits to you.” As an educator, do you think your students are similar? Why or why not?
- In what ways does the language and structure of our current educational system feed a deficit narrative to students? What impact does this have on our most marginalized and vulnerable students?
Recall how Angela reframed Daniel’s story and shared how as soon as she sees “nuggets of brilliance” from one of her students, she accuses them of it, and “there’s no student in my class that’s not accused of something really exceptional.”
Think about the nuggets of brilliance you see from one of your students and tell that student’s story from an asset-based lens. What will you accuse them of doing and/or being that is exceptional? Here, you may want to push yourself to not think about a more visible or extroverted student in this context but one that may otherwise fly under the radar. Also, you may need to connect with other stakeholders in this student’s life to get a fuller picture.
Finally, remember how Angela reminded us that the one thing we can control is how we think about our students.
Now that you’ve woven it all together, where do you go from here?
Connect with others on this journey so that we as educators can learn and grow together in community rather than in isolation. Commit to equity as an ongoing practice and explore more content on The Elephant in the Classroom.
Engage others in your system
You might start with engaging others in your system — for example, your colleagues, a grade-level team, or a professional learning community structure already established — and invite them to join you in this experience.
Connect with us
Explore more on The Elephant in the (Class)room
Continue to explore other ways to understand and experience our anchors for equity:
Expand Experience Journey
Learn from your students about how and where they learn—and from whomStart Journey
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