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Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students

Practice Transcending Theory


Edited By Mary Poplin and Claudia Bermudez

Highly Effective Teachers of Vulnerable Students contains the quintessential details of highly effective teachers working with students who live in poverty inside our public schools and community colleges. This book features the words and actions of the teachers that can inspire and direct any current or future teacher who wants to be great and be a part of inspiring young people to fulfill their potential. This is the grist we need to spark a reinvigorated critical national conversation about what it takes to really have highly effective teachers in low-income public schools and whether we have the moral courage to work as hard as they do to make educational equity a reality in our nation.

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10. “He keeps me on track and prevents me from lollygagging”: Insights from a Native American Tutoring Program (Alejandro B. López)


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10. “He keeps me on track and prevents me from lollygagging”: Insights From a Native American Tutoring Program


Most articles about the academic achievement of Native American youth begin by citing the dire statistics reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the only exam that provides national comparative K–12 data. Certainly, these statistics tell one aspect of the story (see Appendix A), but definitely do not paint a comprehensive picture of the tremendous potential that Native students represent. Powers (2005) points to the “incongruence between Native culture and school culture” (p.338) as a critical factor in the persistent academic achievement gap reported by standardized testing measures. According to Powers (2005), this incongruence can be ameliorated by teachers who cultivate relationships with Native students, “which promote[s] a sense of belonging, develop[s] academic motivation, and reduce[s] academic risk behaviors” (p.338). What the NAEP data do not tell us is that “students who identify closely with their Native culture … display statistically significant increases on measures of school completion, presence and participation in school, quality of instruction, and motivation” (Powers, 2006, p. 20). Nor do NAEP data describe what works well with Native students, namely that

students were perceived to have benefited most when teachers provided encouragement, support, and respect for their cultural identity; were flexible and adaptable in helping Native American students make up for absences and missed assignments due...

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