Bright Future Campaign - Week 31 - Closing the Attitude Gap - Chapter 5

We will close out Chapter 5 this week focusing on motivational quotes, historical images that reflect our students, posting names and pictures of colleges and universities and posting names and descriptions of careers.
Chapter 5 - Environment for Learning - Do I Provide My Students with an Environment of Excellence?

Before we begin, take a look in your mirror and ask yourself the following questions about your students:

Do I have motivational quotes and affirmations posted?
Do I have historical images that reflect my students posted?
Do I have the names and pictures if colleges and universities posted?
Do I have the names of careers and their descriptions posted?

Posting Motivational Quotes and Affirmations

Principal Kafele wrote a book titled, "Motivating Black Males to Acheive in School and in Life" in 2009 and included a list of 50 affirmations that could be posted in classrooms around the country. 

In this text he highlighted 5 of the 50.

I believe in myself and in my ability to achieve academic excellence. 

I have a definite purpose for receiving an education. 

I understand my obligation to excel. 

I am determined to achieve academic excellence. 

I have a vision for achieving academic excellence. 

At the end of the day it's about creating a positive environment to develop positive students. Students must internalize these messages and see them and speak about them on a regular basis. Let's get them posted in our rooms, halls and common areas! 

Posting Historical Images That Reflect Your Students

As educators we need to focus our attention on the models, examples and images of success our young people have before them. Far too many young students gravitate towards negative role models - we are in a position to provide them with alternatives. 

It's a new millennium and the media continue to bombard us with black and Latino imagery that is negative. Through the lessons we teach, we counter what our students see in the media by broadening their exposure, which may require we broaden our own as well. 

Have you posted positive images in your classroom that reflect the ethnic composition of your students? 

What type of images do you have posted? 

What relevance do they have for your students? 

Take these questions into consideration as you continue to develop a classroom learning environment conducive to closing the attitude gap in your classroom. 

Posting Names and Pictures of Colleges and Universities 

It's never too early to start talking with students about college. In fact, I believe we have grown in this area over the last several years and will continue to share the benefits and ideas of post secondary readiness. To enhance these conversations it's a good idea to hang posters on the wall that feature the names and pictures of colleges and universities. Many students come from households without college graduates, so it's up to us as teachers to make the prospect of higher education real. It's also a good idea to invite college graduates to your classroom to speak and well as take your students on field trips to college campuses. 

Posting the Names and Descriptions of Careers 

So many students remain unaware of the endless possibilities that await them. How can we expect our students to have diverse aspirations of the have not been exposed to diverse opportunities that are our there for them? Students can aspire regardless of their background but without access to information about it, they cannot even conceptualize the possibilities. 

Principal Kafele recommends you identify a space in your classroom to post a list of careers and their descriptions. Discuss these with your students, but also give them opportunities to read them on their own. The keys here are exposure and awareness. As these increase, students' attitudes about themselves and their prospects change for the better. 

That concludes chapter 5 and there is just one chapter remaining. There is some great stuff here folks and I look forward to seeing how these simple suggestions can enhance our attitudes and the attitudes of our students.