Design Inclusive Classrooms & Schools
Our schools were not designed for every child to reach their full level of competence and mastery.
The good news is that with thoughtful planning we can create better environments for our increasingly diverse populations, where adults and students experience more success. Through attention to daily rituals, routines, lesson planning and delivery, and assessments, we can promote greater academic success for all, reduce disruptive behavior, and help develop the whole student.
Click to learn more about each workshop below
When we talk about the need for student cooperation, we usually mean we want them to obey us; i.e. the standard for cooperation is doing what they are told. If we want students to truly cooperate, co-operate, they need to know the operating manual of the class. They need to know what they can do, and […]
The epilogue to my 2021 book, “Improve Every Lesson Plan with SEL” stands on its own as an essay. I ask us to ponder how schools replicate or challenge the vast inequalities in our country. I ask: “To what end, to what world view, are we relentlessly pushing students so hard?” I ask us to say the words poverty and capitalism.
With so much to teach, there is constant pressure to move on to the next thing, the next lesson. Here I discuss the value of pausing to ‘dig in’ with a student, and bring their learning to a new level.
Here’s something different: a two-minute video on my realization that I need to be passionate about what I am teaching, versus only doing what I am told to do by a textbook in my hands. By the way, the opening music is from one of my bands.
The first year of the pandemic, when schools went hybrid and remote, was incredibly difficult—a principal said that he felt like he was juggling on a unicycle in a hurricane; teachers felt the same. Every day blew us into unchartered territory. We re-experienced the daily anxiety of being a first year professional—all new, all untested. We did our best to not crash. Kudos to all who hung in.
Despite the boredom and enforced pass-fail monomania of schools, I still love being in them. I see when students experience, despite all the barriers, the moments of joy for having their minds opened and their neurons firing in unexpected patterns and, in those moments, transcendence.
This is an exhortation, a plea, a pat on the back and a push up the hill. It is meant to inspire and unsettle, and to help you find your passion and determination. It comes as a request and a challenge: Don’t plan to go into class and tell your students, “This is the boring part.”
All too often, math teachers sit in silent complicity when it is said that math is exact and linear—humanities are not. Math is about answers that are right and wrong—humanities are not. If math teachers don’t interrupt the status quo, who will? Consider sharing this narrative from an alternate universe:
Picture a school system with hundreds of teachers. Some of the teachers have been with the system long enough to be eligible for a special benefit: job security (tenure), upon completing 24-60 months of high quality work.
I am old enough to have been there at the beginning of special education, and fortunately, I completely missed the euphemism of “special.” I knew schools were filled with students who were disengaged, abused, overwhelmed, scared, with quirky learning difficulties that would not go away simply by avoiding the required reading and writing and math curricula.
Connect with Jeffrey Benson
Want to learn more about how Jeffrey can support your school or organization? Schedule at time to meet with Jeffrey to learn more about customized workshops and other services.