Mentor Resources

Providing Support for Under-Resourced Learners

Articles

A cross-referenced set of articles written by some of the authors of our book collection and other authors with wide and varied experience in social outreach and education.  

Boosting Achievement With Messages That Motivate by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. - As Educators almost every thing we say to our students sends a message. Some messages enhance students’ motivation, but other messages undermine it. How can we know which is which? Common sense and intuition will always be a part of good teaching, but they are not always trustworthy guides. This is where research comes in and helps us put our common sense to the test. Watch the video on Dr. Dweck's experience with the right kind of praise. You may also want to watch Dr. Dweck's TED Talk explaining the growth mindset and the role mindset plays, not only in education but also, in many areas of life.

How the Environment of Poverty (Having Fewer Resources) Impacts Cognition and Learning by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. - For human thriving to occur, people need a particular set of resources. People in generational poverty often lack or have only a very limited supply of necessary resources. This is what being "under-resourced" means. Having sufficient resources has to do with much more than money. What are these resources? And what makes the environment of poverty (fewer resources) different from the environment of formalized school?

Why Does Family Wealth Affect Learning? by Daniel T. Willingham, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Virginia - How does the mind work, and especially, how does it learn? Teachers’ instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct. Such knowledge often serves us well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on? Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary field of researchers from psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, and anthropology who seek to understand the mind. This article considers findings from this field that are strong and clear regarding the effect of growing up in impoverished circumstances.

Why Knowledge Is Important for Comprehension by Daniel T. Willingham, professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Virginia - In this article, Dr. Willingham explains that having knowledge makes it easier to build more knowledge. Students with a broad scope of knowledge about many different things, along with a wide set of experiences that contribute to that knowledge, are not only more capable readers but also, better at reading comprehension. In fact, writers tend to leave out a great amount of information and rely on the reader to have sufficient background information to generate a fuller understanding of the text. But what happens to students who do not have a broad enough background and exposure to the information needed to supply the unwritten but implied information? They cannot fully comprehend what they are reading! Watch Dr. Willingham's animated video on the connection between knowledge and comprehension on the Videos page.

Understanding and Working with Students and Adults from Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. - The hidden rules of the middle class govern schools and work; students from generational poverty come with a completely different set of hidden rules. To better understand students and adults from poverty, Dr. Ruby Payne explains the definition of poverty as the extent to which an individual does without key resources. In working with students and parents, it is important to analyze the resources that are available. This article gives a breakdown of the hidden rules of class, placing these in a chart so that the driving forces within poverty, middle class, and wealth can be examined side by side. Hidden rules shape what happens at school. Many of the greatest frustrations teachers and administrators have with students from poverty are related to knowledge of the hidden rules. These students simply do not know middle-class hidden rules nor do most educators know the hidden rules of generational poverty. Watch Dr. Payne's discussion of the hidden rules of poverty in three short videos available on the Videos page.

A History of Testing by Monty Neill, Ed.D. - This essay briefly traces the history of testing in public schools from its beginnings in the 1920s, through the counter-productive No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal law, to passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in December 2015. It then discusses the recent and rapid emergence of the testing resistance and reform movement. This is a real eye-opener!

Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center - Many of us are familiar with three general categories in which people learn: visual learners, auditory learners, and kinesthetic learners. Beyond these three general categories, many theories of and approaches toward human potential have been developed. Among them is the theory of multiple intelligences developed by Howard Gardner, Ph.D., Professor of Education at Harvard University. Gardner’s early work in psychology and later in human cognition and human potential led to the development of the initial six intelligences. Today there are nine intelligences and the possibility of others may eventually expand the list. These intelligences (or competencies) relate to a person’s unique set of capabilities and ways they might prefer to demonstrate intellectual abilities.

Schools are primarily designed to measure only two types of intelligence: Language and Mathematics. Students whose primary intelligence fits this model fair better than students who, by the nature of their particular intelligence types, prefer to demonstrate their intellectual abilities in other ways. Watch the video on multiple intelligences on the Videos page.

Multiple Intelligence Survey for Kids by Laura Candler - Teaching students about multiple intelligence theory can be very empowering, especially when you administer a survey to help them find out their own strengths. But most online survey tools are too long and complex for kids. Laura Candler created the quick and easy classroom version that’s on page 3 of this packet. She also included an example of a completed survey on page 4 so you can see how it works. Using this tool is a way to learn more about the student you are mentoring. To utilize a one page Multiple Intelligences Survey, print page 3 of the packet or access this one page version, also available on the Worksheets and Guidelines page. 

Can Perseverance Be Taught? by Angela Duckworth, Ph.D. - On average, grittier individuals are more successful than others, particularly in very challenging situations. So, can we intentionally cultivate grit in our children, in our employees, in the students we mentor, in ourselves? Relative to many other scholarly traditions, the science of behavior change is in its infancy. Still, Ms. Duckworth thinks we know enough to answer that question in the affirmative. Can perseverance be taught? Yes. Do we know how? More and more – though, of course, there is much to be discovered.

True Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth and Lauren Eskreis-Winkler - Recognition of the necessity of hard work and persistence is age-old and universal. Nevertheless, individuals differ dramatically in their stamina for long-term goals. What mechanisms link grit to achievement? Since "grit" is one of Crossover's Power Tools, understanding more about it can be helpful to your work as an Academic Mentor. Watch Angela Duckworth's TED talk on Grit on the Videos page.

What is Close Reading? - At Crossover Mission we are painfully aware that many of our student athletes continually struggle to keep their "reading" grades at a passing level. Why is this? Much has to do with the infusion of "close reading," a particular set of literary skills that students must master beginning in elementary grades and continuing with growing complexity through high school. This brief summary gives an overview of what close reading is all about. Crossover Mission has also developed an App titled The Magic Pen, an interactive tool for teaching close reading skills to students in grades 4-6. All of our iPads have this App loaded and available. The Magic Pen App is now part of Crossover Academy Junior.

Fluency Instruction: Best Practices for Older Readers - Nicole Luthy, Project Director - What is fluency? It is the ability to read the words on the printed page accurately, effortlessly, or automatically so that readers can preserve their limited cognitive resources for the more important task of reading comprehension. Fluency is important in reading because it is the gateway to comprehension. A person must have some degree of fluency in order to understand what is read. Many readers do not comprehend well, not because they lack intelligence, but because they read the text dis-fluently, making word recognition errors, laboring in their reading, and reading without appropriate expression. This article offers suggestions to help adolescent students improve fluency, primarily in the same ways any mastery in a skill is developed -- with modeling, assistance, and practice.

Reading Fluency in High School - Timothy V. Rasinski, Nancy D. Padak, Christine A.McKeon, Lori G.Wilfong, Julie A. Friedauer, Patricia Heim - Findings in this study suggest that reading fluency is a significant variable in secondary students’ reading and overall academic development. Although fluency is generally thought of as an elementary grade issue, this research group wondered if fluency could still be an issue in the reading difficulties experienced by large numbers of students beyond the elementary grades. In particular, middle and high school students from urban areas appear to experience more difficulty in reading than students from non-urban areas. Could one source of their difficulties in reading stem from a lack of reading fluency? Although a correlation between fluency and comprehension does not prove causation—that fluency or lack of fluency leads to improved or deficient comprehension—the findings do suggest that this is a possibility.

What is Reading Comprehension and How Can It Be Improved? - Florida Literacy and Reading Excellence Professional Paper - Reading comprehension is a highly complex process which integrates multiple strategies used by the reader to create meaning from the text. The process is aided by the reader's prior knowledge and personal experiences, vocabulary knowledge, and independent use of reading strategies. Students benefit from direct instruction of reading strategies. Find out what some of these strategies are.

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