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Teacher As Warm Demander (Bondy & Ross)

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Teacher As Warm Demander (Bondy & Ross) Powered By Docstoc
					                                           The Teacher as
 How can you create an engaging
 classroom? Convince students
first that you care—and then
 that you'll never let up,
Elizabeth Bondy and Dorene D. Ross


Consider this comment that a beginning teacher in an urban
school recently made to us:

     They are calling one another names and being really catty, and it
     wears me out. 1 mean, as soon as they walk in the door, someone
     is pushing . . . or calling someone a name. So it's 8:00 in the
     morning, and 1 am already ilustercd-


   Many teachers in high-poverty schools struggle to establish
a positive classroom environment. These teachers know a
great deal about iheir students, feel affection for them, and
empathize with their struggles. Unfortunately, the way these
teachers act on their caring is often not comprehensive
enough to make a difference. The teachers work hard to
design interesting lessons, but if students are disengaged, the
quaiity of the lessons will be irrelevant and misbehavior w\\\
reveal students' underlying resistance.
   What is missing is not skill in lesson planning, but a
teacher stance that communicates both warmth and a
nonnegotiable demand for student effort and mutual respect.
This stance—often called the warm demander—is central to
sustaining academic engagement in high-poverty schools.
   The stakes are high when it comes to engagement. Studies
have amply demonstrated a link between achievement and
academic engagement, defined by Furrer and Skinner (2003)                  less likely to graduate and consequently face severely limited
as "active, goal-directed, flexible, constructive, persistent,             opportunities . . . [including] unemployment, poverty, poor
                                                                           health, and involvement in the criminal justice system. (National
and focused interactions" with academic tasks (p. 149).
                                                                           Research Council, 2004, p. 0
The consequences of disengagement are more serious for
low-income students:                                                        The good news is that although engagement is affected by
     When students from advantaged backgrounds become disengaged,        students' economic and social conditions, teachers can
     they may learn less than they could, but they usually get by or     organize the classroom in ways that dramatically increase
     they get second chances.... In contrast, when smdents . . . in      student engagement.
     high-poverty, urban high schools become disengaged, they are


54     EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP/SEPTEMHER 2008
Warm Demander
                                                                    That's enough of your nonsense, Darius. Your story does not make
                                                                    sense, I told you time and time again that you must stick to the
                                                                    theme I gave you. Novi- sit down. (p. 56)

                                                                     This kind ol communication is seldom described in the
                                                                  effect ive-teach ing literature. Scholars who have investigated
                                                                  the warm demander stance have concluded that it is often an
                                                                  effective leaching style with tnany students, although it may
                                                                  appear harsh to the uninfomied observer (.Bondy, Ross,
                                                                  Gallingane, & Hambacher, 2007; Irvine &r Fraser, 1998;
                                                                  Ware, 2006). Let's look at what makes this approach effective
                                                                  and how more teachers might adopt it.

                                                                  Becoming aWarm Demander
                                                                  becoming a warm demander begins with establishing a caring
                                                                  relationship that convinces students that you believe m them.
                                                                  The saying goes, "It^ not what you say that matters; it's how
                                                                  you say it." In acting as a warm demander, "how you say it"
                                                                  matters, but who you are and what students believe about
                                                                  your intentions malter more. When studenls know that you
                                                                  believe in them, they will interpret even harsh-sounding
                                                                  comments as statements of care from someone with iheir best
                                                                  interests at heart. As one student commented, "Shes mean oui
                                                                  of the kindness of her heart" (Wilson &r Corbett, 2001, p. 91).
                                                                     This quote, pulled from interviews with 200 students in
                                                                  high-poverty middle schools in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
                                                                  liighiights the second part of being a warm demander. Warm
                                                                  demanders care enough to relentlessly insist on two things:
                                                                  that students treat the teacher and one another respectfully
                                                                  and that they complete the academic lasks necessary lor
                                                                  successful futures. These teachers adopt what Wilson and
                                                                  Corbett (2000 call a "no excuses" philosophy
                                                                     Warm demanders approach students, particularly those
                                                                  whose behavior causes trouble in the classroom, with
                                                                  unconditional positive regard, a genuine caring in spite of what
What Is a Warm Demander?                                          that student might do or say (Rogers, 1957). At ihe heart of
Klcinleld (197^) coined ihe phrase warm demander to               unconditional positive regard is a belief in the individual's
describe the type of teacher who was effective in teaching        capacity lo succeed. Teachers convey such an attitude by
Athabaskan Indian and Eskimo 9th graders in Alaskan               taking the following three actions.
schools. These leachers communicated personal warmth and
used an instructional style Kleinfeld called "active demanding-   Build Relationships Deliberately
ncss." They insisted that students perform to a high level.       Middle school students interviewed by Cushman and Rogers
Ir\'me and Fraser (1998) provide an example of how a teacher      (.2008) explained that they wanted teachers to "show us that
using this style might speak to a student who is slacking off:    you like us and find us interesting" (p, 65). One tactic is to


                                                           ASSOCIATION   FOR SUPERVISION    ANII C U R R I C U L U M   DEVELOPMENT   55
give students "getiing-Lo-know-you"         habits helps teachers monitor their reac-    different groups (such as males and
questionnaires (see Cushman & Rogers,       tions to student behaviors that they         females or native speakers and English
2008, for examples), but such question-     might deem "bad," but that are consid-       language leamers),
naires will only v^'ork if studenls         ered normal or even valued in the               • Study examples of successful students
perceive that you are genuinely inter-      students home culture. Without such          whose backgrounds differ from the norm
ested and if you subsequently use the       reflection, a teacher's implicit assump-     (see Corwin, 2001, or Esquith, 2004).
information you gather.                     tions can inadvertently communicate to          • Question their reactions to students'
   Day-to-day interactions are more         students a lack of caring.                   behavior to identify potential cultural
important than formal questionnaires.          For example, an Egyptian man              misunderstandings.
A smile, a hand on the shoulder, the use    told us how a teacher punished his              • Monitor the tendency to judge
of a student's name, or a question that     elementary-age son for pushing a class-      differences as abnormal.

                                                                                         Communicate an
                                                                                         Expectation of Success
When students know that you believe in                                                   In our recent study of three novice
                                                                                         teachers of black elementary students,
them, they will interpret even harsh-                                                    we watched teachers attempting to
                                                                                         communicate this message on the first
sounding comments as statements of care.                                                 day oí school (Bondy et al., 2007). The
                                                                                         3rd grade teacher read a story about the
                                                                                         inevitability of mistakes and the impor-
shows you rememher something ihe            mate. When the man and his wife spoke        tance of persistence. She shared her
student has mentioned—these small           v^dth this teacher, they realized that       ovm experience with failure and her
gestures do much to develop relation-       playful pushing is not accepted in U.S,      philosophy of optimism and persever-
ships. Don't underestimate their power.     culture; in Egypt, it is an acceptahle way   ance. The 5th grade teacher repeatedly
                                            for hoys to communicate affection. Two       made encouraging comments such as,
Learn About Students' Cultures              aspects of this teacher's approach could     "How easy was that?"
Use your knowledge ot culture and           have harmed the teacher-student rela-           A student Cushman (2003) inter-
learning styles to increase your under-     tionship. First, she failed to ask either    viewed summarized how teachers can
standing of individual students. Warm       the boy or his parents why he had            create a culture of success:
demanders ohserve students closely to       pushed another hoy. Second, she
                                                                                           Remind us often you expect our best,
learn more ahout their idios)'ncrasies,     assumed that this student knew—and             encourage our efforts even if we are
interests, experiences, and talents. They   had chosen to disobey—her behavioral           having trouble, give helpful feedback and
waich for clues to learning-style prefer-   standards. Therefore, her first response       expect us to review , , . don't compare us
ences: Does she work well independ-         was to punish him. Although this               to other students, and stick with us. (pp.
                                                                                           64-67)
ently? Does he need visual cues to          teacher is warm and friendly, her lack of
process what he hears? These teachers       deep knowledge of her student or his         Beyond Believing to Insisting
hecome students of their students'          culture prevented her from conveying to      Many teachers use motivational strate-
cultures, learning ahout the music they     him that she cared.                          gies such as these and believe that they
listen to, the television shows they           To gain cultural knowledge and            have high expectations. What makes
watch, and their after-school activities.   competence, Ross, Kamman, and Coady          warm demanders different is that they
   Warm demanders also recognize that       (2007) recommend that teachers               insist on students meeting those expec-
their own cultura! backgrounds guide           • Learn ahout their own cultural          tations. They establish supports to
their values, beliefs, and behaviors.       beliefs and how those beliefs influence      ensure that students will learn, and they
Although it can he difficult to perceive    their interactions with students and         communicate clearly to sludenis that
ones own culture, culture consistently      families.                                    showing respect to the teacher and to
shapes an individual's behavior and            • Become curious ahout culture and        classmates is nonnegotiable. The
reactions to the hehavior of others.        difference; try to imagine how school        following strategies help teachers
Gaining insight into cultural values and    experiences might feel different to          become successful demanders.


56   EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHip/SfcPTEMBER 2008
Provide Leaming Supports
The students Wilson and
Corbelt (2001) Imcmewed
were clear ihai the teachers
who helped them most never
gave up; they provided a
variety of acUviiies to help
different kinds of learners
and taught until the light
bulb went on for every
student. These students
preferred teachers who
explained material thor-
oughly and in multiple ways;
outlined steps for geitmg to
an answer ("They do it step-
by-step and they break it
down"); moved to new mate-
rial when they believed
students were ready rather
than according to an arbi-
trary timetable; and empha-
sized multiple ways of
approaching a problem.

Siif){H>n Positive   Behavior
                                            Warm demanders                                      and disciplined classroom environment"
                                                                                                (Irvine & Fraser, 1998, p. 56). In our
Ah hough warm demanders may
become frustrated by student behavior,
                                            reach out to                                        study of effective teachers, we found
                                                                                                that teachers used two main strategies to
they accept problems as normal, and                                                             hold student behavior to a high stan-
they believe in students' ability to
                                            students for help                                   dard. First, teachers respectfully but
improve. When the effective novice                                                              insistently repeated their requests and
teachers we obser\'ed confronted recur-
                                            in understanding                                    reminded students of their expectations.
ring behavior issues, they collected data                                                       If students did not comply, teachers
10 help them understand the situation
                                            behavior problems.                                  calmly delivered consequences. We
bciore taking action (Bondy et al.,                                                             concluded that
2007). These teachers approached prob-      that they were bored with the                          the teachers' assertive communication
lems reflectively, asking such questions    curriculum. When Ravet asked these                     style, combined with their strategies for
as. What factors might influence this       students' teachers the same question,                  insisting that sludents follow through,
problem? or When does this behavior         teachers blamed perceived deficits in                  created a climaie in which teachers were
occur? They searched for solutions          students' attitude, ability, personality,              taken seriously. Although leachers were
                                                                                                   warm and often funny, ihcrc was no ques-
rather than blaming students or             and family background. If instead of                   tion ihat they meant what they said.
dismissing their concerns.                  blaming, these teachers had respectfully               tBondyetal.,p. 344)
   Warm demanders reach out to              listened to students, they would have
students Ibr heip in understanding          gained insight into how to intervene.                 Charney (2002) discussed ways to
behavior problems, which many well-                                                            convey expectations to students clearly:
intentioned teachers neglect to do. For     Be Clear and Consistent                            Keep demands simple and short; dignify
example, when Ravel (2007) asked 10         with Expectations                                  your words wilh actions; remind
highly disengaged students why they         Warm demanders must "provide a                     students only twice (the third time,
had disengaged, most of them explained      tough-minded, no-nonsense, structured              "you're out"); tell students what the


                                                           A S S O C I A T I O N F O R StjPERvisiON A N D              DI-VELOPMLNI       57
"nonnegoüables" are; and use words              climate that fosters engagement among              Greenfield, MA: The Northeast Founda-
that invite cooperation.                        high-poverty students. Warm deman-                 tion for Children.
   Although warm demanders must                 ders do so by approaching their                 Corwin, M, (2001). And still werisf;Tritils
                                                                                                   and iriumphii of twelve gijleä inner-city high
speak firmly, their tone should remain          students with unconditional positive
                                                                                                   school sludcnls. New York: Harper Collins,
matter-of-fact; they should never               regard, knowing students and their              Cushman, K. (2003). Pires in lhe haihroom:
threaten, demean, or create power               cultures well, and insisting that                  Advice Jor teachers from liigh school students.
struggles. Students will perceive such          students perform to a high standard.               New York: The New Press.
matter-of-fact demanding as evidence of         Students have told researchers that they        Cushman, K., &r Rogers, L. (2008). Fires in
their teacher's commitment. Many                want teachers who communicate that                 the midcili: school bathroom: Advice jor
                                                                                                   leachers jrom middle schoolers. New York:
teachers believe they are showing               they are "important enough to be
                                                                                                   The New Press,
students they care when they continu-           pushed, disciplined, taught, and
                                                                                                Esquith, R. (2004), There arc no shortcuts.
ally give "one more chance." Unfortu-           respected" (Wilson & Corbett, 2001,                New York: Knopf.
nately, giving "one more chance"                p. 88). Such is the stance of the warm          Furrer, C , &r Skinner, E. (2003). Sense of
demonstrates that a teacher does not            demander. 13                                       relaledness as a factor in children's
mean what he or she says, and this                                                                 academic engagement and perfonnance.
                                                                                                  journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1),
practice could be interpreted as a lack         References                                         148-162.
of caring.                                      Bondy, E., Ross, D. D., Gallingane, C , &       Ir\ineJ. J., & Fraser, J. W (1Q98). Warm
                                                  Hambacher, E. (2007). Culturally respon-         demanders. Education Week, 17(35), 56,
    Although classroom teachers have
                                                  sive classroom managemeni and more:           Kleinfeld, J. (1975), Effective teachers of
little control over many factors that             Creating environments of success and             Eskimo and Indian students. School
affect student engagement, they do                resilience. Urban Education, 42, 326-348.        Review, 83, 301-344.
have the means to create a supponive            Charney, R- (2002). Teaching chüären to care.   National Research Council. (2004). Enga^ng
                                                                                                   schools: Fosteñng high school síutíents' moti-
                                                                                                   vation to leam. Washington, DC: The
                                                                                                   National Academies Press.
     Is your school ready to go?                                                                Ravet, J, (2007), Are we lisicning? Stoke on
                                                                                                   Trent, England: Trentham Books.
                                                                                                Rogers, C. R. (1957). The necessary' and
     School' ToGo. com                                                                             sufficient conditions of therapeutic
                                                                                                   personality change, jownai oj Qmsulting
  ^ Recommend relevant resources                                                                   Psychology, 21, 95-103.
                                                                                                Ross, D- D., Kamman, M,, &rCoady, M,
  ^ Share classroom media & materials \                                                            (2007), Accepting responsibility for the
                                                                                                   learning of all students: What does it
  ^ Create personalized recommendations                                                            mean? In M. Rosenberg, D. Westling, &r J.
                                                                                                   McLeskey (Eds,), Specidf education for
 ^ Communicote with students and parents                                                           today's teachers: An introduciion (pp,
 ^ Network with teachers & specialists                                                             52-81). New York: Prentice Hall.
                                                                                                Ware, F (2006). Wann demander pedagogy:
 "^ Build classroom support that extends                                                           Culturally responsive teaching thai
                                                                                                   supports a culture of achievement for
    beyond the classroom                                                                           African American students. Urban EduciJ-
                                                                                                   tfon,4J(4), 427-456.
     Support your school in a visionary new way.                                                Wilson, B. L,&Corheti, H. D. (2001).
                                                                                                    Listening ii) urban kids: School reform and
     School-ToGo.com lets teachers share                                                            the teachers they want. Albany: State
     what they are teaching.                                                                       University of New York Press-

     The first free nationwide network of resources for teachers.
                                                                                                Elizabeth Bondy {bondy@coe.ufl.edu;


     School-ToGo.com                                                                            352-392-9191, ext, 247) and Dorene D.
                                                                                                Ross (dross@coe,ufl.edu; 352-392-0751,
                                                                                                ext. 238) are Professors in the College of
                                                                                                Education at the University of Florida at
     Designed by teachers, designed to teach.                                                   Gainesville.


58    EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP/SEPTEMBKR 2008

				
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