My Podcast Consumption Is At An All Time High

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My podcast consumption is at an all-time high. Recently, I listened to The Hidden Brain 's episode entitled "Students and Teachers." While the content wasn 't necessarily new information, the episode was filled with facts and data that we often overlook or push to the back burner. The questions were posed: How do we close the achievement gap? How do we improve test scores, grades, and academic achievement as a whole? And most significantly- what truly matters in improving the educational experience of our students?

Data. It 's a dreaded word, especially in the humanities fields, but it is an important one. I get it - data is often associated with frustration, lack of relevance, and the time taken away from instruction and building
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When gathered and applied correctly, data can provide us with valuable information about our students and how to best serve their needs. Localized assessments, formative reviews (which can be FUN... I personally love dancing to the Kahoot music), surveys, and parent contact can provide us with information about students ' interests, past experiences, motivation, and can challenge us to consider what works in our classrooms. Qualitative data, while harder to gather and organize, is invaluable to us in our individual classrooms with our students.

Immediately after the "d" word was mentioned, Shankar Vedantam, the host of the podcast, turned his focus toward relationships and supported this notion with more data and more science. What matters most concerning the achievement gap (which is a multi-layered and complex issue) in the classroom is how we connect to our students. When students and teachers form strong bonds, test scores improve, students are far more likely to complete high school, and overall academic achievement improves. The academic numbers then translate to future earning potential and success post-schooling. And those are the numbers that matter; those post-secondary achievement numbers are the ones that ultimately improve the lives of our students.

So - how do we build better relationships? What goals do I want to reflect upon, reinforce, and improve next fall?

1. Allow myself time.

Time is our most precious commodity. In any given
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