I’ve been talking to folks outside of the Forman community about how we get teachers to buy in to Schools Attuned. I find this a fascinating topic. So often, those who are closest to the point of impact for students who learning differently serve as advocates who champion the cause. Some classroom teachers respond by explaining that they are not special educators or that they did not go into teaching to work with “these kids.” Classroom teachers, public and private, have these students in their classes. Most classroom teachers do not have an understanding of variations in learning or learning differences. We need to be mindful of the time needed for teachers to change their mindset. Teachers need to have the opportunity to be heard and their concerns should not be discounted. By listening deeply we may gain the place where we should begin our work in presenting a new framework for understanding. This is the first step to creating a partnership that leads up to teacher buy in. The Schools Attuned work provides the opportunity to pull back and learn more about student learning. Once the classroom teacher gains an appreciation for variations in learning using the specificity characteristic of the Schools Attuned model, there is forward motion.
I recently shared AKOM’s Research Base of the Schools Attuned Porgram, www.allkindsofminds.org/Research/Index.aspx, with colleagues. Several teachers asked for this information following our school wide Schools Attuned work. While we work exclusively with college bound students who have learning differences, prior to learning the neurodevelopmental constructs, our teachers possessed many varied understandings of the learning differences. These different interpretations were the cause of varied perceptions. A year following the program, evidence of our common understanding was abundant. Classroom teachers were more confident in working with struggling students. Instructional planning was more learner centered and student engagement increased. The research base includes studies that demonstrate these changes. We are presently using the research base to inform further implementation. I review educational research regularly and I was excited to learn that AKOM has a research team who actively studies advances in educational, psychological, medical and clinical research. This is translated into the further development of the program. The content of Schools Attuned has many authors from the field of learning. Our students benefit from this daily.