- Equitable teachers model that all students are learners and valued participants in their school and community.
- Inclusive teachers defend the entitlement of all students to access, participate and progress in the general curriculum through inclusion in the overall school community and universal design for learning.
- Student-centered teachers believe that students with disabilities are experts about their own lives and entitled to actively participate in decisions that impact their education.
- Collaborative teachers uphold that families are experts about the lives of their children and are necessary partners in their children's education.
- Culturally responsive teachers, recognize, value and embrace diversity as beneficial to all, enriching and enhancing the quality of learning and teaching.
- Effective teachers integrate knowledge about theory, research, professional expertise, curriculum standards, technology, assessment and instructional practices to meet the needs of all students.
- Ethical teachers assume students are capable and respectfully collaborate with them to create, work toward and achieve their individual educational goals.
- Socially responsible teachers act with integrity, promote the legal rights of students, support student self-advocacy and actively champion social justice for all students.
Education And Human Service Beliefs
- All people can learn.
- All students can be included into general education with the right support structure. When someone earns their way out of general education due to extreme, extenuating circumstances or behavior, there should be a comprehensive, objective, learner-centered reintegration plan.
- All people are employable with meaningful supports.
- Problem-solving and openness to innovations are the most important skills for educators and human service professionals.
- There is no career that is free from working in teams. Collaboration is essential.
- Change is a journey. Not everyone needs to be at the same place, but it is important for all to be going in the same direction.
- When going through change, think big, but start small.
Positive Behavior Supports Foundation and Beliefs
All behavior is a form of communication. It is the job of the team to examine what the individual is communicating by his or her own behavior through a variety of authentic and personalized assessments. The process goal is to design a respectful, person-centered plan to engender support, progress and success.
- When an individual exhibits any adventuresome behavior, there is not something wrong internally with the individual. Instead, impacting factors must be examined including:
- Communication factors
- Interest factors
- Control and choice-making factors
- Environmental factors
- Physiological factors
- Relationship factors
- Teaching factors
- Sensory factors
- Building positive relationships with professionals and others are essential.
- Team-building, active listening and problem-solving are essential skills in creating positive behavior supports.
It is evident that all learners will benefit from a literacy rich environment guided by clear principles that provide a backbone for learning. Dignity and respect for all learner abilities are embedded in the following principles:
- Student diversity strengthens a classroom and strengthens literacy due to educators trying out a greater array of varied teaching and learning approaches.
- Do not make assumptions about the literacy of a learner. Everyday that I teach, a student surprises me about his or her ability, strengths capacities and gifts.
- Focus on a learner’s abilities and possibilities, rather than disabilities and deficits. This is an important concept in promoting literacy for all, since disability and deficit information do not help an educator teach.
- Utilize innovative diverse learning strategies such as universal design, differentiated instruction, cooperative learning, curricular adaptations, literature circles, educational technologies, cross-age peer tutoring and peer mediation, all of which will promote literacy for all. Once the door is opened, a wider learning spectrum is welcomed and greater learning success is achieved.
- Use everything in education’s bag of tricks to promote literacy for all.
- All literacy approaches that help learners gain skills are valuable.
- Certain learners are more complex to assess and develop literacy support approaches for, but the effort is entirely worth it. It is critical to always believe in all learners and to not give up!
- Utilize a collaborative team effort of varied approaches and input to share the responsibility for a student’s literacy.
- Using a student’s interests, fascinations and passions in the curriculum will promote literacy.
- Making education work for all is what good teaching and quality literacy are about.
It is clear that this type of forward thinking, collaboration and effort will achieve meaningful gains in literacy and quality education for all learners. Schwarz, P. (2008). Introduction for Holt, Winston & Rinehart Literacy Curriculum. Austin, Texas.