(How can I get their attention?)

There you are, standing in front of the class, while far from paying attention to your well-prepared lesson, the students are carrying on a conversation among themselves.  In such a situation, I used to try to make them stop talking and listen to me.  Later I read a perceptive analysis of just this problem in the informative book, The Lives of Our Children, by George Dennison (Random House, N.Y. 1969). Dennison asks, “Why shut them up when they are not paying attention?  Why not find out what they are talking about and discuss it with them?”  When the matter has been fully discussed, the teacher can then guide the class into the lesson she has prepared.  In some cases, however, it may be wiser to postpone the planned lesson and take up another subject which can be tied logically to the previous discussion so as to capitalize on their interest.

High School/Middle School Stories

Once, in my role as supervisor of student teachers, I entered a high school social studies class to watch a lesson on the Opium Wars in China. I got there early, and the room was empty except for Bill and his cooperating teacher. The bell rang and soon students were bursting into the room talking excitedly and at high volume about a bad physical fight they had just observed between two female students outside the school, “Her glasses were broken!”  “The cops came and took them both away in handcuffs!”

Bill thought his lesson was paramount (especially since I was there to observe him teach) and tried to introduce the topic with very few students listening.  He tried to get their attention and failed.  All they wanted to talk about was the fight.  His cooperating teacher, thinking he should not intervene since the lesson was being observed, took no action.

At the end of the period, I met with Bill and pointed out the futility of trying to teach amid chaos; that he should have shelved his lesson and begun a discussion of what had happened outside.  After students had a chance to say what they had seen, he could have asked, “What exactly set off this fight?”  “Could it have been prevented?”  “Should the police have been called?” “Couldn’t a teacher or school administrator have broken up the fight?”  “Do you think these two girls will now have an arrest record?  If so, how will that affect their future?”

If it was impossible to have an orderly discussion, Bill could have handed out a piece of paper to students and asked them to write down what they had seen and imagine what a positive solution to the problem could have been.  Then he could have asked them to pair up with another student and share what they had written, after which some students could tell the class what they had discussed.  After each comment, Bill could have asked, “Who agrees?”  “Who disagrees?” which would have encouraged a dialogue among students on alternative conflict resolution approaches.

If time remained, or at the beginning of his next attempt at teaching, he could have used this discussion about the fight to segue into the Opium Wars.  After all, both are conflicts that could have been avoided under certain conditions, and this connection might have engaged the students more in learning about wars that occurred long ago.

Day Dreamers

Another scenario faced by teachers is the day (or days) when it seems that everyone is day-dreaming.  Again, almost no one is listening to you or answering your questions.  Rather than scolding them, one could say what the authors of Discipline With Dignity recommend:

“stop what you’re doing and say, ‘My guess is that many of you are bored with the lesson.  Probably you’re thinking about other things.  While your bodies are here it looks to me as if your minds are not.  Your assignment for tomorrow is to write down all the places that your mind has been during this class. Tomorrow I’ll collect your work and read each paper out loud. You don’t have to put your name on your paper unless you would like others to know what you wrote.’

“As it is neither desirable nor possible to eliminate students’ daydreams, it makes sense to legitimize this ‘misbehavior’ by attending to it.”1

These daydreams could provide the teacher with clues to students’ concerns and interests which in turn could help in developing future lessons that would be of more interest to them.

In general, I have found that teachers do not pay enough attention to what their students are saying or to their interests.  They have a lot to tell us if we would only listen. Listening helps us see the world through their eyes and thus enables us to relate to them with greater understanding. On my website, see The Value of an Extended Discussion with a Disruptive Student  by Tara Mansman Romero in which a loudly cursing 8th-grader is calmed down by his teacher without contacting an administrator.

Elementary School Stories

A technique for catching children’s attention in elementary school that usually works is to point out who is ready rather than who is not.  For example, you are about to read a story, but the class is too noisy.  You then say, “Mary is ready.  Thank you, Mary.  Joshua has cleared off his desk.  Billy just sat down.  Thank you to all the children who will let the story begin.”  Invariably you will hear, “What about me?  I’m ready too,” to which you respond, “You’re right.  I should have mentioned your name.”

Another approach is to say, “Six people are ready on this side of the room.  How about the other side?”  Then as they make an effort to be ready too, you say, “Now it’s even, and I think I can almost begin.”  Noticing the trend is to pay attention, the remaining children usually cooperate.

In this way you are focusing on cooperative students.  You give them credit, thus encouraging other students to consciously change their behavior, so they too can be recognized.

The Unusual Situation

There are also individual students who insist on doing their own thing which seems to have nothing to do with the lesson or activity at hand.  In such cases, creativity and the ability to surprise the child by doing the unexpected is needed to help capture the child’s attention.  Here is one teacher’s success story as told by her granddaughter, Paula Von der Lancken:

“My grandmother, Guilia von der Lancken, taught art in the public schools of Louisville, Kentucky and Tulsa, Oklahoma through the 1940s.  In one of her classes was a boy who enjoyed games more than art.  He sat in the rear of the classroom and shot marbles.

“My grandmother went to him and demanded to see the marbles.  With great admiration, she knelt down and pointed out the brilliant colors, the free-flowing design in some, the symmetry in others.  They examined every marble and when finished, my grandmother had won over a student and had a marble in her pocket to remember him by.” 2


Kathy Matson, 5th-grade teacher

Kathy Matson, 5th-grade teacher, found it helpful to have direct lessons on teaching children to listen carefully to each other. She was a member of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program created by Educators for Social Responsibility which provides workshops and materials for creating a peaceful, respectful and productive classroom.

For example, she gave her class a topic such as “When did you have your last conflict with someone?  Answer these questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how was the conflict resolved? Then you will pair up with the person next to you and share stories, and when you are finished, you will report what you learned to the entire class.  To do this successfully you have to listen carefully to each other.  If we don’t finish today, we will continue tomorrow.”

This topic was so interesting to students that the conversations they had with one another in pairs and with the whole class showed increased attentiveness to what their peers were saying.  Lessons like this were key to expanding her students’ skills in interpersonal communication, as well as relevant reading and writing.

In another instance, when Ms. Matson’s class was getting out of hand, she stopped everything and asked, “What are the plusses and minuses of this class?”  She listed their answers on the board.  Students liked that their work was displayed in the classroom and outside in the halls.  A number of students said they didn’t like to line up according to height and that they had too much homework.  The class brainstormed solutions.

Together they decided that children would line up in alphabetical order from then on.  They agreed to try having a little less homework.  Later, they would evaluate how it was working out.

By using techniques such as these, in giving her students a voice, her students became easier to work with, and by Thanksgiving or Christmas had jelled by and large into a cooperative working unit.3

Joel Brooks 6th-grade teacher

Joel Brooks, a sixth-grade teacher and a member of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, believes that children need to be taught how to distinguish between good and poor listening.

Author Miriam Miedzian describes one of his lessons:

“Mr. Brooks starts out by asking the children if they’ve seen any movies they’ve liked lately.  The response is enthusiastic, and he chooses a girl named Maria to come to the front of the class.

“They sit down facing each other and she starts telling him with enthusiasm about Eddie Murphy’s latest movie.  Mr. Brooks plays with his pen as she talks, his gaze wanders around the room; he stares vacantly at the ceiling, smiles at the students in the class.  As she is in the middle of a sentence, he starts telling her about another Eddie Murphy film he saw.  When Maria starts again, he interrupts her to ask her if a pen on his desk is hers.  She is looking more and more exasperated.  When they are done, he turns to the class and asks:  ‘Was I a good listener?’  The answer is a loud ‘No!’  All the children are waving their hands in response to the next question:  ‘What made me a poor listener?’  ‘You kept interrupting.’ ‘You avoided looking at the speaker,’ and so on.

“Mr. Brooks then asks Maria how she felt.  She does not mince words in explaining how upset and angry she was ‘cause you weren’t listening; then you interrupted me.'”

“The second exchange involves a student describing “Robocop.” This time Mr. Brooks is listening carefully.  When he is done he asks the class:  ‘What was I doing?  What are good listening skills?’  Again a flurry of hands:  ‘You were concentrating’; ‘No interruptions’; ‘You looked her straight in the eye’;  ‘You summarized what she said’; ‘You nodded – communicating understanding.’

“When Mr. Brooks asks the students how many of them have had the experience at home of having their parents pretend to listen, almost all raise their hands and tell anecdotes about their parents not listening to them.  When he asks, ‘What about teachers?’ he is met with another flurry of anecdotes about teachers – including himself – not listening.”

In a discussion of what they learned from the lesson, the point is made that “Learning how to listen well is a means of avoiding some conflicts and a building block for resolving those conflicts that do occur.”4

The strategies described above take a positive approach to the problem of inattentiveness.  They show that we must always try to develop ways of communicating which enlist the cooperation of students, to help them see that it is in their interest to listen carefully to each other and to their teachers; teachers in turn must listen carefully to their students and be quick to apologize when we get distracted.  For example, “I am sorry Juan;  I can’t listen right now, but you can tell me the rest after I finish giving the class their assignment and the students get to work.”

Teachers who show interest in what their students have to say, who give them respectful attention, and where appropriate, ensure that a student’s classmates are attentive as well, are setting a wonderful example that will not be lost on the class.

Letting Students Get To Know One Another

Many of us also do not allow our students much opportunity to communicate with one another.  It’s a fact that many children go through an entire school year without getting to know half the boys and girls in their class because the teacher insists on monopolizing their attention.  Lunchtime is usually short so that there is little opportunity for them to talk with their classmates there.  At the end of the day, they scatter to their separate homes and play only with children on their own block or in their own neighborhoods. Some don’t play with anyone or hang out with friends at all if they live in dangerous neighborhoods where parents keep them inside.  Latchkey children are told to go right home after school and stay indoors.

So what we are doing in effect is helping to keep thirty or so students isolated from one another when actually what they need and thrive on most is an environment in which they can discuss problems together and help one another.

One way to begin this process is to give students a chance to introduce themselves to one another.  This can be adapted to any level where they can tell or write about what they would like their classmates to know about them.   Teachers can model how to do this by recounting their own stories. Students can pair up and share with each other. Volunteers can tell their class one important thing they learned from their partner.  Teachers can research other “ice breakers” and share with one another.

The Importance of Unstructured Free Time/Recess

A growing problem negatively affecting students’ behavior and ability to concentrate and learn is the increasing time spent on academic subjects while unstructured recess or free time has decreased.  A policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled “The Crucial Role of Recess in School” (January 2013), makes recommendations that include:

“Cognitive processing and academic performance depend on regular breaks from concentrated classroom work. This applies equally to adolescents and to younger children. To be effective, the frequency and duration of breaks should be sufficient to allow the student to mentally decompress…

“Peer interactions during recess are a unique complement to the classroom. The lifelong skills acquired for communication, negotiation, cooperation, sharing, problem solving, and coping are not only foundations for healthy development but also fundamental measures of the school experience.”

An article entitled “Running, Jumping and Swinging Their Way to a Lifetime of Innovation” by Laura M. Holson (N.Y. Times, 3/02/19) backs up the AAP statement above.  It states that in April 2018, “Arizona legislators passed a law that provided 2 daily recesses for the state’s elementary school students.  Teachers have already seen encouraging results, reporting fewer disciplinary actions, enhanced test scores and improvement in children’s overall health.”

Lucy Dathan, a parent with 3 children, who was elected to the Connecticut legislature in 2018, supported a state bill that would require schools to provide at least 50 minutes of daily undirected play for student enrolled in preschool through 5th-grade.  She says, “You need to give kids an opportunity to learn social skills.  It’s good for overall happiness.  And playtime builds relationships.” (N.Y. Times, 3/02/19)

Collectively Deciding Class Rules at All Levels as a Means to Improve Communication and Behavior

Class rules that are chosen collaboratively at the beginning of the year, whether agreed to at the elementary or high school levels, are more democratic and more effective than rules made only by the teacher.  When students participate in classroom decisions for creating the kind of community they want to live in for the semester or year, they are more likely to be invested in seeing that the system will work.

Elementary School Level

Jonathan Kaspari tells how rules were decided in his fourth-grade class:

“My class was divided into six groups and each group made a list of all the rules they could think of.  Then the teacher put them all in a computer and printed them out.  Then each group reassembled the next day and looked at the list and chose the ten best rules.  The teacher put these in the computer and printed them out.  We looked at the new list, and each group had to pick the best five.

“My teacher put all of this together, and our class voted on them.  We ended up with six rules that we all agreed on, and we all signed our names to the rules.  Our teacher signed too.  She gave us a copy of the rules to keep, and she hung them up in the classroom.”

Room 212 Rules

Treat people with respect.
Don’t get into other people’s relationships.
No violence.

Clean up after yourself.
Stop if someone says, “Stop.”
Listen when other people are talking.


In thinking about these rules, Jonathan said, “They were fair because we had all agreed to them.  They set some boundaries for us for things we could and could not do.”5

High School Level

When I began teaching at an alternative high school, the Frederick Douglass Center in Brooklyn, New York, I faced a class of twenty 17–21-year olds.  The focus of the school was to raise students’ low reading levels to at least 6th-grade when they would qualify for a GED class.

My students were drop-outs and push-outs of regular New York City high schools as well as immigrants from different English-speaking Caribbean countries with various dialects. Many seemed depressed and alienated. I started the term with a class meeting in which I said:

“In this class, we will be dedicated to improving reading skills so that you will qualify for a GED class.  What we need to find out today is what kind of class you need to help you to learn as much as possible.

“I want you to divide yourselves into groups of 3 or 4 and on this ½ sheet of paper I am giving you, I will ask you to write down 3 or more rules that would make a successful classroom environment which will help you learn as much as possible. We will put your suggestions on a chart, discuss them and decide which ones are the best.”

When they were finished, I called on one group after another, getting a suggestion from each and putting them all on the chart paper until there were no more. After we discussed each one, I told them I would write them up neatly to put up on the wall to remind ourselves what we had agreed to.  In addition, I told them that I would make a chart of my commitments to teaching them in the best ways I could.

The next day, I came in with the completed charts which were clearly and colorfully written, and put them up in a prominent place. I could see that the students were impressed that I had taken the time to create them, and that I had included the chart I had promised of rules for me as their teacher.  I read mine and asked “What do you think?”  The general consensus was that they were O.K.

Then we went over student rules, and I asked if anyone objected to any of them – that we could still change them. Since no one objected, I explained that we would hold each other to these agreements, that from time to time we would go over them to see if any needed to be revised or eliminated.  I added that if I saw anyone breaking one, I would simply go over to the chart and point to it, and that I might not say anything since the student who was guilty would probably know who he or she was. I also said that if I violated any of my agreements, I hoped they would point them out to me so that I could improve too.

Here are the two charts:

Class Rules

Always respect one another and each other’s opinion.

Make classmates feel welcome.

Try to understand if a person is right or wrong.

Don’t talk while the teacher or student is talking. (I added the student part with no objections from the group proposing the rule.)

Don’t laugh at another person’s accent.  (This referred to the fact that many students in the class were from different Caribbean countries with varied accents.)

No arguing.

Help each other with classwork and problems.

Be on time every day.

No littering in class

No graffiti.


Teacher Responsibilities

Be prepared each morning.

Be on time except if subways don’t run. 

Try to have interesting lessons.

Do my best to teach you if you don’t understand something.

Respect you and listen carefully when you speak to me.  I will learn as much as I can from you.

Give homework that helps you to learn.

Try to be helpful if you have a problem.

If there is something many people want to learn, and I don’t have enough information, we will do research to find the answers.


This proved to be fair and helpful in setting a positive tone to start off the year.  I rarely had to raise my voice and most students tried to cooperate.  To read about how this year unfolded, see Students and the Power to Change on my website.

Another example of creating class rules collectively is:  Urvi Shah’s Class Meeting, High School Social Studies on my website.  Ms. Shah was a student teacher who faced a very difficult and unruly class, but as a result of class discussions and creating rules, she was able to begin teaching.

A key point to remember is to regularly refer to the class rules, especially in the weeks immediately following their creation, to remind students of their importance and to evaluate whether any of them need to be changed, as mentioned above.  This will avoid the pitfall of rules being ignored because they are put up on the wall and soon forgotten.

Class Meetings for More than Creating Rules

In his book “Beyond Discipline, From Compliance to Community,” Alfie Kohn sees class meetings as very important forums to address more than rules.  He describes in great detail how to make them successful instead of simply ritualistic, and how helpful they can be for sharing interesting things that happened in their lives;  for making decisions on things such as decorating the classroom or how best to help people in need;  for planning field trips, or making sure that when the teacher will be absent, the time will be spent productively;  for reflecting on what kind of place the classroom should be, i.e. how to treat one another, what to do when classmates don’t agree or someone says or does something mean.

He points out that it is difficult for many teachers to share power with students especially because there are pitfalls that must be prepared for and to overcome, but “… Anyone who truly values democratic ideals would presumably want to maximize children’s experiences with choice and negotiation…for it is experience with decisions that helps children become capable of handling them.”6

You will find more examples of the value of involving students in meaningful decision-making in the classroom throughout this book, particularly in Chapter 4, “Specific Challenges and Solutions.”

In addition, you will find essays on my website that stress improving communication between teacher and students and among students themselves:

Who Are Your Students? by Nabeelah Abdul Ghafur 

Teaching Without Screaming:  A General Perspective by Nicole Neil

Fresh Start Every Day:  Creating a Compassionate Classroom Community
by  Jennifer Christiansen

Building Community Through Letter-Writing  by Jane Califf

Cultural Conflict in the Classroom as a Barrier to Communication

A barrier to effective communication that is not well understood or even realized by many teachers is what African American educator Lisa Delpit calls “cultural conflict in the classroom.”

In her book Other People’s Children, Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, she gives many examples of how communication styles vary from one culture or social class to another.  One that she describes is how middle-class teachers giving a directive to their poor students or students of color may not get what they consider to be the proper response because their words are misinterpreted.  The middle-class style of giving directions or making requests tends to be indirect whereas in poor, working class and Black families it is more direct.  Consequently, upon entering school the child from such a family may not understand the indirect statement of the teacher as a direct command.

Children brought up in households in which commands are given explicitly rather than in the form of questions (which are really veiled orders) are less likely to respond to the statement “Is this where the scissors belong?” rather than to “Put those scissors on the shelf.”

Another cultural clash which leads to a breakdown in communication is over the question of what is an effective authority figure.  According to Delpit:

“Many people of color expect authority to be earned by personal efforts and exhibited by personal characteristics.  In other words, ‘the authoritative person gets to be a teacher because she is authoritative.’  Some members of middle-class cultures, by contrast, expect one to achieve authority by the acquisition of an authoritative role.  That is, ‘the teacher is the authority because she is the teacher.’

“In the first instance, because authority is earned, the teacher must consistently prove the characteristics that give her authority.  These characteristics may vary across cultures, but in the Black community they tend to cluster around several abilities.  The authoritative teacher can control the class through exhibition of personal power;  establishes meaningful interpersonal relationships that garner student respect;  exhibits a strong belief that all students can learn;  establishes a standard of achievement and ‘pushes’ the students to achieve that standard;  and holds the attention of the students by incorporating interactional features of black communicative style in his or her teaching.” 7


The point of these examples is not to say that middle-class, particularly white, teachers cannot be successful with working-class and children of color.  The lesson here is that if our students are not behaving as we would like, or not showing interest in our classes, we cannot assume it is their fault, but perhaps ours in failing to develop a communication style and a curricula to which they will respond.  This means that we must read about and study the social and cultural history of the students we teach, which is especially important since our social studies school texts at all levels still largely ignore or minimize the history, culture, struggles and achievements of these groups (and women, too).  Parents and leaders in the community can provide input and support in our teaching efforts to improve our understanding of their children and their lives outside of school.  We cannot be complacent and think that what we learned in our college education classes or remember from our own school experience prepares us for the world of every classroom today.

Another resource to help improve teacher/student/parent/community communication is Rethinking Multicultural Education, Teaching for Racial and Cultural Justice.  This book shows the importance of going beyond learning about national and international cultures through heroes, holidays, foods, games and clothing. Essays by 36 teachers and researchers detail, largely through their own classroom experiences, how to make multicultural education more meaningful to students in elementary through high school classrooms. Veteran teacher Bill Bigelow describes it as highlighting “injustice of all kinds – racial, gender, class, linguistic, ethnic, national, and environmental – in order to make explanations and propose solutions.  It recognizes our responsibility to fellow human beings and to the earth.  It has heart and soul.” 8

In another essay, “Decolonizing the Classroom, Lessons in multicultural education,” Wayne Au writes:

“As a teacher educator I encounter on a daily basis the consequences of schooling that is not multicultural.  Many of my students know little of the histories and cultures of the students that they will end up teaching.  What’s more, they don’t know that they don’t know, and I fear that many of them will enter communities of color… damaging the young people they’re trusted to educate.” 9

Teachers who read Rethinking Multicultural Education will gain insights on better curricula and teaching methods which can greatly benefit all their students. They can also join the National Association of Multicultural Education to keep abreast of conferences, books and other resources:  https://www.nameorg.org/

To be a success with children of another culture, race or class demands an open mind, a willingness to see things from another point of view, to learn from such experiences and to change what we do with our students as a result.

As this chapter indicates, teachers need a variety of approaches to successfully communicate with students.  As a teacher and a mother, I have been concerned for many years about the negative effects TV, video games and other media can have on children’s ability to listen, their attention span, learning and behavior.

The Negative Effect TV, Video and Other Screens Can Have on Students

Over decades, national organizations have been researching and reporting on the influence of media on children’s emotional, social, academic and physical health. The published results are shocking.

Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE) produces handouts for parents and teachers, including one entitled Media and Young Children Action Guide.  In the section “Exposure to Violence Leads to Violence,” they state:

  • By the time children are 18-years old, they will have witnessed an average of 200,000 acts of violence on television, including 40,000 murders.
  • Violent toys, often tied to violent media, are commonly marketed to young children.
  • Children exposed to violent programming at a young age are more likely to use aggression to solve problems.
  • They are also more likely to be desensitized to the effects of violence, to see the world as a more dangerous place, and to crave more violence than children who are not exposed.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood states in their 2013 report “Screen Smart Guide for Elementary Schools”:

  • Children between the ages of 2 and 11 see more than 25,000 commercials each year. Children under 8 cannot distinguish between commercials and program content nor understand advertising’s persuasive intent.
  • The $17 billion that companies spend annually on marketing to children, (an increase from the $100 million in 1983) are mostly for cereals, candy and fast food.

The Parents Television Council’s “Facts and TV Statistics” states:

  • The average eight-year old child spends eight hours a day on media.
  • A teen typically more than 11 hours of media a day.
  • Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online.
  • 1 in 4 say it has happened more than once.
  • Only 1 in 10 kids report bullying to their parents.
  • More than 58% of children surveyed (ages 14 -17) report having seen a pornographic site on the Internet or on their phone.
  • 37% have received a link to sexually explicit content.

Other organizations and studies have corroborated this research, adding that too much screen time has resulted in shorter attention spans, obesity, increased risk of attention deficit disorder, becoming more attached to screens and objects than to people and the worlds around them,  becoming easily bored, and nagging parents after they see foods, games and toys advertised.  Creative play, which helps lay the foundation for later academic learning, has diminished.

What are Teachers to do? 

With so much distracting media available to students, the job of teaching becomes more challenging and frustrating.  Many students’ minds are full of news stories of mass shootings and exposure to adult sexual abuse and other images they have witnessed on their media devices; they are used to constant change and excitement as they multi-task from one media device to another.  In contrast, even teachers who work hard at developing interesting and relevant lessons can be considered boring if they don’t have fast action lessons with lots of drama and variation.

The organizations mentioned above and others can provide guidance on how to mitigate this state of affairs. Their suggestions and explanations include:

  • educating parents about the dangers of unlimited interaction with media and lack of parental emotional availability while offering family-building activities to take their place.

  • teaching students at all levels with age appropriate lessons on how to critique media, how to keep media from negatively influencing their behavior and to take action to change programs that feature violence, stereotyping, bullying and other negative behavior.

  • participating in the nation-wide annual Screen Free Week: https://www.screenfree.org/

A great source for lesson ideas from elementary through high school is the book Rethinking Popular Culture and Media edited by Marshall and Sensoy in which teachers explain successful lessons and activities that they have created.


1Curwin, Richard L. and Mendler, Allen N., Discipline with Dignity, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1988, p. 212-213.

2Interview with author.

3Interview with author.

4Miedzian, Myriam, Boys Will Be Boys, Breaking the Link Between Masculinity and Violence, Anchor Books, Doubleday, 199l, p. 135-136.

5Interview with author.

6Kohn, Alfie, Beyond Discipline, From Compliance to Community, 10th Anniversary Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006, pp. 85, 96.

7 Delpit, Lisa, Other Peoples Children, Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, W.W. Norton and Co., 1995, p. 35 – 36.

8 Bigelow, Bill, “Standards and Tests Attack Multiculturalism,” Rethinking Multicultural Education, Teaching for racial and cultural justice, A Rethinking Schools Publication, Wisconsin, 2009, p. 59.

9Au, Wayne, “Decolonizing the Classroom, Lessons in Multicultural Education,”  Rethinking Multicultural Education, Teaching for racial and cultural justice, A Rethinking Schools Publication, Wisconsin, 2009, p. 254.




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