On my journey to discover the true meaning of agency and the use of it in education, I have taken a slight, but highly important detour into cultural responsive and proficient practice. A person's culture forms an extremely significant part of who they are and how they interact with day to day life. This being said, surely in makes sense that through acknowledging and respecting a person's culture leads to engagement and success in education? For this reason, it is not only necessary but should be a privilege to find out more about the culture from which learner identifies and belongs. So the question is where to start and what to do?
In trying to answer some of these questions, I have had the pleasure of talking to Graig Meyer from NC, USA, the founder of six strategies for culturally proficient teaching. From the discussions we had, it is clear that Graig is a passionate education who believes in the power of learner agency and the importance of acknowledging culture as one element in unleasing this agency. He also is very aware of the realities of school- life and what that means to learners. We had a extensive and inspiring discussions around many of the different elements that contribute to effective cultural proficient and how to achieve this. He shared a few different stories with me and the one that I felt was most powerful was around a teacher, who put up his hand and said "The white students in my class are continuing to meet expectations and the afro-american student are not. I have tried to solve this problem on my own but, I can't. I have failed and need your help." At which point he stepped back and let the kids express themselves and work towards a solution together. I take my hat off to this guy not only for his bravery around admitting he couldn't find the solution but because he gave the students the ultimate agency in deciding what to do from there. A bravo is in order here, I feel!
So what were the key messages/ tips and tricks that I have learnt from Graig Meyer this morning:
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