Closing the Attitude Gap: How to Fire Up Your Students to Strive for Success
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In this inspiring and thought-provoking follow-up to his 2009 best-seller Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life, Baruti Kafele makes the case that the "attitude gap" that often affects underperforming students can only be closed if educators first help students develop the will to strive for excellence. According to Kafele, educators can achieve remarkable results by focusing on five key areas:
* The teacher's attitude toward students
* The teacher's relationship with students
* The teacher's compassion for students
* The learning environment
* The cultural relevance of instruction
Replete with practical strategies and illustrative anecdotes drawn from the author's 20-plus years as a teacher and principal in inner-city schools, Closing the Attitude Gap offers a wealth of lessons and valuable insights that educators at all levels can use to fire up their students' passion to learn.
students and helps set the tone of the learning environment. It also serves as a mirror of sorts, reminding students that the quality of the work that they submit is a reﬂection of who they are. Behavioral Expectations To close the attitude gap and achieve high academic performance in your classroom, it is essential that your students internalize your behavioral expectations—not rules, but expectations. Rules deﬁne what students can and cannot do in your classroom; expectations, by contrast,
Schott Foundation for Public Education. (2008). Given half a chance: The Schott 50-state report on public education and black males. Cambridge, MA: Author. Singleton, G. E., & Linton, C. W. (2006). Courageous conversations about race. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Sprick, R. S. (2006). Discipline in the secondary classroom: A positive approach to behavior management. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Sterrett, W. (2011). Insights into action: Successful school leaders share what works.
went from a low-performing school in need of improvement to being recognized by U.S. News and World Report three times as one of the best high schools in the United States. Principal Kafele is currently a highly sought-after education speaker and consultant. He travels extensively throughout the United States and abroad, spreading his empowering message of attitude transformation. A versatile and passionate speaker, he regularly conducts conference keynote addresses; professional development
it, as did the teachers in their classrooms. By addressing the problem and demonstrating to my students and staﬀ that it was being taken seriously, we were in a much better position to get a handle on it and favorably aﬀect the overall climate and culture of the school. 19 20 Closing the Attitude Gap It works the same way with you in your classroom: You must make it a priority to ensure a welcoming climate and culture for the sake of your students’ academic success. The mood of your
student-centered? Was it rigorous? Was learning occurring? What kind of impression did the experience have on the students? Were students able to learn without peer pressure to conform to counterproductive expectations? There is still an unspoken notion in far too many classrooms among children of color that to be smart is to be “acting white.” The classroom experience must encourage students to display their intelligence without risking repercussions from their classmates. As the teacher and I