Want to Connect More with your Diverse Learners?

We have a tool for you…

Reflect on a diverse learner in your school. Perhaps she is the quiet student who sits in the back and is always drawing pictures of animals. Or he is the chatty student who is constantly roaming around the room making jokes. Whoever these students are, at one point in time, you’ve probably found yourself at a loss for how to connect with them and struggled to find strategies to draw them into class assignments. You know there is more you can do, but what?  

How about meeting with your colleagues to get a better idea of what might work?  Before you head to those meetings, how can you prepare yourself? Turn to ABC’s Diverse Learner Profile, which we are releasing online today for educators to download. 

As ABC planned to co-build and test our first tools with our DC-based school partners, we talked with numerous educators who shared how little insight they have into their learners beyond their academic profiles. Many of these educators wanted to learn more about the young people in their classrooms but struggled to know where to begin. The Diverse Learner Profile was designed to support this curiosity and help educators consider a bigger picture when trying to understand the learners in their classroom.

The Profile provides you with probing questions to better understand what motivates learners with an eye toward connecting and best meeting their needs.  Questions are organized into topic areas such as context, social/emotional assets, interests/aspirations, and learning potential, to help you delve deeper into what makes your students tick.  

There are many ways to use this tool, ranging from a quick 1-minute review/thought exercise to a more structured strategy where you and your colleagues seek to answer each question over several months. Here are some other ways to get started with the Profile:

  • Spend 15 minutes reviewing the questions and seeing how many you can answer as a way to  reflect on how well you actually know your learner;
  • Reframe the questions to use with your students as writing prompts or seek discussion in groups during advisory time; or
  • Begin a professional development session with a context-setting exercise by having participants fill in the Reflection Worksheet included at the end of the document.  

In the example that opened this blog, you could use the Profile to gather your thoughts about a student and plan what topics you want more information on before meeting with others.

There are many ways to check your own understanding of students and the Diverse Learner Profile provides you with a meaningful, strengths-based tool you can use as a starting point. We recommend using it both on your own and in collaboration with team members, to build your relationships and possibly as a starting point to discuss how you may perceive students differently.  

Most importantly, we want you to use it and tell us how it works. When have you found the tool helpful? How might we modify it to make it more robust? Tell us how this tool has helped you serve students better.  

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