‘Please focus’ for ‘How are you?’: A listening technique that helps

“Your whole life, school is a given. Even if you don’t like it, you have to. But then it disappears for 1.5 years, “Levy said.” So when it comes back, you have less patience for it. “

As Christopher Emdin popularized in his 2016 New York Times best-selling book “For White Focus Who Teaches in the Hood … and the Rest of Yale Two”, cousins ​​may vary from teacher to teacher, but practice often depends on transition. Energy is dynamic. This creates space in the classroom for students to critique what is working or not working and for teachers to incorporate that response into their instruction.

School leaders across New York City and across the country have reached out more about Cozen, Emdin said, a professor at the University of Southern California and a scholar / gravitate in residence at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in Manhattan.

Emdin had previously featured cousins ​​in his work, but seeing less traction, school leaders often said they needed to pay more attention to standardized tests. However, more schools are now closely monitoring the practice as districts improve social-emotional education as a way to address the staggering higher student’s mental health and the increasing academic needs caused by the epidemic.

“We always tell teachers it’s important to build relationships with kids,” Emdin told Chuckbit. “The teachers said, ‘How?’ What Cozins allow you to do – it gives you a way to invite different students It provides a set of practical tools to get a great idea. “

In a cousin, no more important than any other voice, and everyone gets an equal turn to speak, Emdin explained. Practice gives students as well as teachers a chance to be exposed and in doing so it helps teachers to be more caring towards their students and vice versa.

Speaking to students – “in a world where they have taken away agency and power and they are just passively accepting information” – he believes, can be transformative. “It provides an opportunity to meet those emotional and psychological needs while delivering content.”

More importantly, it is not expensive to implement.

“You don’t have to buy a new course or an iPad,” Emdin said. “I like to give professional development, but there is no better PD you can get from Kozen. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should end there. “

For Levy, capturing cousins ​​enables him to better understand his students’ everyday realities and how they shape their experiences in the classroom, so if they don’t give assignments, he feels more equipped to respond.

“Kozen builds empathy,” Levy said. “The first thing you say is, ‘Please focus.’ It is: ‘How are you?’ It could be that you need a break or guidance, or that confusion or other things are more important to you right now. “

He also observed that academics have gained the attraction of practice by fighting this particularly difficult time for many students across the country. Levy recently co-hosted a four-part workshop with Bronx algebra teacher Brian Palacios for Mathematics for America, a nonprofit organization focused on building communities among the city’s skilled math and science teachers. They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities. Lewis Kozen also discussed with some national teams, including Underperformance Curriculum, Step UP (APS Physics), and RedesignU.

Levy, who switched from Corporate America to Education through the New York City Teaching Fellow program five years ago, quickly adapted to the classroom, became an instructional instructor, and won a prestigious first career fellowship from Math for America. He started using the practice three years ago as part of a school-wide initiative. It didn’t last long, but Levy stuck with the practice and is doing cousins ​​in various shapes around once a month.

During some cousins, for example, Levi would order Domino’s Pizza for a small group of students, some he knew well, some less involved. They will talk about life and what they get out of bed in the morning. He will listen to their experiences, and together, they will agree on how to improve the class.

After one fall, Levy and his students agreed to start classes with an 8-minute “chill time,” where he allowed his students to hang out and stay on their phones. A big part of allowing them to do this was because they didn’t seem to have the stamina for a 45-minute class. He hoped the transfer would lead to a more sustainable engagement for the rest of the class.

It didn’t necessarily pan out that way, but that practice had its advantages. This helps him to spend time with the students one by one at the beginning of the class and deepen his relationship with many students, he explained. Although Kozen has not overcome this year’s challenges, she still feels that they have helped her to be more responsive to the needs of her students.

“I think most of my students need more group therapy than I do in physics classes. It’s a way to get to a place where teachers aren’t ready – it’s not something we’re trained for, “Levy said, explaining that this year he often has to be like a social worker. “Cousins ​​are a small thing that I’m doing that makes things a little better. I understand how important their coursework is now in their lives because of the weight of life.”

For Palacios, an algebra teacher at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics who blogs about his weekly cousin, the practice has been a game changer.

He had read Emdin’s book several years ago but was not ready to put it into practice until he re-read it last summer and tried Kozen when his students were learning from afar.

“It simply came to our notice then. It illuminates my direction, “said Palacios.

With her students, she created this year’s homework policy, tutoring schedule, and several lessons. He uses cogens to help him formulate a math project about agricultural credit that includes compound interest that brings social justice to his class by focusing on the systematic racism of the agro-industry.

After starting the project and discussing it with his students, he noticed that they were less engaged in the activities that he thought they would be. He realized that the text did not reach them for what they said, but because of what they did not say, he explained. Seeing their mood and lack of enthusiasm, he got a “breakthrough” and pivoted: instead of following the imaginary farmers of color, he forced the students to take on the role of farmers when he pretended to be the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States.

The role-playing aspect has spread more “joy” and helped both of them understand the unequal treatment of math and color farmers, he explained.

For Palacios, the feedback he receives from his students has been more helpful in transforming his direction than any other type of professional development where he has participated. It’s important to have a place away from the “teacher world” where it’s just teachers talking to each other and instead creating a place that invites students to the table and then “actually” listen, he believes.

“When I collaborate with teachers, it’s valuable,” Palacios said. “But Kozen allows me to tap into students. It helps me see how I can adjust and be more responsive. It’s kept me solution-oriented. It annoys me.”

Her advice to other teachers: “Just listen to the students. They will give you whatever they need. ”