Teach to Reach

Submitted By:
Michelle Tursellino, Avenues The World School, New York, NY

When it comes to student engagement, what comes first? Should students feel emotionally connected to learning? Should curiosity be piqued? Must students be well behaved? And how do we respond when we get the dreaded question, "Why do I have to read this?" These are some of the compelling questions Cris Tovani unpacks in her latest book, which provides advice, resources, and strategies to plan ahead for meaningful student engagement in any content area. Tovani organizes her chapters through stories of disengaged students wearing various "masks." She shows us that based on what a student needs, "the masks they choose to wear can change from class to class and day to day." Some students wear a mask of anger and apathy. Others wear a mask of minimal effort. Some wear the mask of the class clown or of invisibility. Tovani provides thoughtful ways (including an appendix of resources) to make connections, through literacy, to these different students' "head, heart, and gut." She offers tools to plan for long-term engagement as well as in-the-moment techniques, and she shares an honest reflection of her own teaching (especially her mistakes) to help teachers of any subject area teach the hardest to reach students.

Teaching Practice
Social-Emotional Learning