Story posted February 07, 2013
Area educators, Bowdoin education students, and community members came together in Main Lounge, Moulton Union for a panel discussion about strategies to connect with, engage, and teach students who may be considered hard to reach. Current Bowdoin Teacher Scholars posed questions based on their current teaching experience – panelists then responded to these scenarios by sharing both war stories and practical advice for ways to consider approaching the various challenges.
It was clear from the discussion that the label “hard to reach” may evolve out of many different backgrounds. A student may experience challenges due to a learning disability, gaps in educational experience, home life, and language acquisition, to name just a few. Establishing a classroom culture which fosters mutual respect, articulated assessment policies, and clear learning targets are ways in which teachers can help lay the groundwork for a classroom in which all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and supported environment. Panelists also imparted valuable professional advice from veterans to new teachers – don’t take it personally, listen to your students, don’t engage in power struggles, and be true to yourself above all else.
Bowdoin Teacher Scholars and panelists began the evening with an informal dinner together.