Grace Rubenstein of Edutopia writes on some remarkable research showing that periodically giving African-American students a chance to write about their personal values can significantly boost their performance across academic subjects. The researchers are still trying to work out how exactly teachers could apply their methods, but Rubenstein is impressed by the implications:
Caution and all, the powerful message I take from these findings is this: the psychological environment we create for children in the classroom has a massive impact. And very small things - smaller than we realize -- can define that environment.
That seems like a very good message for the start of the school year.
Update August 31: Miss Eyre has been “absolutely dumbstruck” by the same study and wonders: “So is there any good reason not to try this in your classroom?” She plans to do so.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.