Action Plan Paper


Action Plan Paper




Action Plan Paper

EFRT 308: St. Paul Travel Study

Sarah Parker

Winona State University



Teacher self-efficacy is “a belief that students can learn if taught and a belief in one’s own ability to successfully teach them” (Closing the Achievement Gap: Sergiovanni, 2000, p. 131). When assisted in unlimited resources, teachers can become the ultimate tool in any student’s life when they peel back each layer of the onion we know as education. In order to conquer resilience and encourage success, teachers have to connect to their students, the families of the students, as well as the surrounding community. After taking part in the St. Paul travel experience, the realization occurred that change could occur in any school system and any child’s life when a teacher is intentional in what they do and refuse to give up on any student. With the many strategies available to discourage and eliminate the option to fail, Bonnie Bernard’s Turn Around Strategies can help emphasize pathways to student success.


Expecting Nothing Less than the Best

Finding ways to create a positive learning environment can start simply with the behavior and expectations of the students and teacher. When students know what is expected of them, they are, in turn, also aware of what they should not do. As a future educator, it will be crucial to develop a solid sense of unity when it comes to understanding expectations. Students need to be held to constant high expectations not only to benefit the school’s success, but also to help the students see their possibility of academic achievement and the change they can create. “A consistent description of turnaround teachers is their seeing the possibility: ‘They held visions of us that we could not imagine for ourselves’” (Delpit 1996, p. 199).  Having the opportunity to take part as a temporary teacher figure in a classroom for a week allowed the ability for me to see that structure and routine was very important for the students. When they knew what they needed to do, they did it. I realized that structure for these students might be out of the ordinary from what they experience at home, where they might not have any sort of expectations or rules. Being aware of this can create solitude of understanding for some bad or strange behavior of certain students. If a student is acting out in class, it might be because they don’t get enough attention at home, not because they want to get in trouble. Knowing and understanding the home life of the students will create the ultimate trusting relationship. “Students desire authentic relationships in which they are trusted, given responsibility, spoken to honestly and warmly and treated with dignity and respect” (Poplin & Weeres, 1992).

When success is a promotion, it turns into a vision that, with high expectations, can become a reality. “In a study of school teachers, it turned out that when they held high expectations for their students, that alone was sufficient to cause an increase of 25 points in the students’ I.Q. scores” (Warren Bennis, 1994). Teaching is an inspiration within itself, but sharing the inspiration with my future students will be the greatest influence I can hope to share. If something as small as encouragement can change a child’s life forever, believing in each and every student will be a constant expectation for me. “But even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room” (Freedom Writers, Miep Gies, 2007).

With caring and quality relationships, students and teachers can build trust and learn a way of accepting every student to create “no excuses and who refuses to let them fail” (Wasley, Hampel, & Clark, 1997; Wilson & Corbett, 2001). Caring relationships can create a chain reaction of positive behavior. When students know they are respected, they will show respect back, and sequentially follow their expectations.

The Outer Ice Burg

Bernard’s Turn Around Strategies correlate in a symphonic way, and finding ways to be conscious of them all at once and emphasizing one at a time can be a way to develop the necessary relationship to find unity in the classroom. In order to understand, manage, and unravel misbehavior, a teacher must initially assess what is going on inside that student’s mind and home life. This couldn’t happen without trust. As demonstrated at the Cultural Wellness Center, our knowledge of each other can be compared to an ice burg. Although we might only see the tip of it, there is so much more below the surface that is worth revealing when the effort is put forth.

Bringing students together in my classroom will be very important. If the students can find trust within each other and see the classroom as a safe place, they will be comfortable to participate in activities and will in turn be able to follow along with curriculum. Once I have my own classroom, I won’t identify students by their race, but rather celebrate them individually based on the many attributes that make up their culture. “Diversity of all sorts is seen as a strength and an attribute to celebrate” (Closing the Achievement Gap, p. 130). By doing this, the children could potentially follow my example and have collective cultural perspectives early on in their lives, being able to differentiate Intercultural Development and progress in their competence, rather than diminish the importance of the differences. “People try to treat everyone the same… We are not all the same, but we are all of equal value” (Cultural Wellness Center, European American Self-Study).

The American culture is based heavily on a specific stereotype that frames the ideal “American Dream” with a biased perspective on Corporate White America. With this demeaning stereotypical world, and a place where you are judged by what you do, or how much money you make, it can be difficult for families that fall below what is the supposed norm. In classrooms, the sense of self-worth should never be higher for one student than another. Instead, their strengths should be celebrated and used to divulge other skills.

“Above all, a consensus seems to have been reached that regards any claims of biological superiority or inferiority as belonging to a class of belightened ideas that have no scientific validity whatsoever” (p. 79 New Darwinism). It is interesting to try determining the roots of stereotypes and the reasoning and legitimacy behind them. Comparing commonalities to social groups can contribute to classification, which seems to be a repetitive action that takes place on a daily basis. Grouping people together seems to happen without even acknowledging it, but being conscious of when it is happening can help diminish the polarization and find a strategy to develop. If these categorizations are invalid, where do they come from? It’s hard not to link the New Darwinism with the Polarization stage of Intercultural Development. Cultural differences in fact exist; however, improperly identifying cultures by invalid assumptions is no way to develop. By becoming overly critical toward people or cultures that are different, there is no room for progression. I feel like being cognizant of this in the classroom can contribute to a mutual understanding of the many differentiations that will be within all students.


Reaching Out

“When students have teachers who encourage them to work with and help others, and to give their gifts back to the community, youth develop the attitudes and competencies characteristic of healthy development and successful learning, such as social competence, problem solving, and a sense of self and future” (Closing the Achievement Gap, p. 123). When I become a teacher, it will be my job to encourage students to get involved in as many ways possible. Good schools come from great communities that are involved and supportive of the students. Education is the most valuable attribute to a young child, and bettering education starts with support.

With so many resources available in each community, it is vital to help students be familiar to them. For instance, the Boys and Girls Club is an organization that can be found in many areas all over the US. They are well known, and stay extremely busy, especially during the summer months when students might lose the structure they became familiar with during the school year. Regardless of the age I get the opportunity to teach, this organization can help them build many life skills such as communication, responsibility, and good decision-making. With the volunteers available to the children participating, positive role models can surround them. Briefly talking to one of the directors, it is clear that they encourage the children to reach out to the community, and help children see how important education is. Knowledge is a lifelong opportunity for growth, and with programs such as the Boys and Girls club, students can stay out of trouble, help each other, and continuously develop important life skills.


What is Power

With trusting relationships, meaningful lessons, and consistent and equal expectations, teachers can serve as a tool for all students to hold the power to succeed. Knowledge is the most powerful resource for any person, and with it anything can be achieved. Knowledge; however, can also be abused when its power is not shared to those who might be reaching for it the most. According to Janie Ward, “The truth is, teachers possess astounding power; they can decide to teach black children or not to teach them. Possessing this power means possessing a weapon that can inflict permanent damage” (School Rules, p. 512).

Academic expectations should always be high and equal, regardless the student and there should never be discrimination against a certain student or group of students. Every school district faces different demographics based on a lot more than just skin color, and when students face different challenges, it is crucial for them to know that someone believes in them. School systems should reward differences and “recognize that cultural differences present both opportunities and challenges” (School Rules, p. 515) to maintain the goal to reach academic success. Since all students are different from their home life, religion, and cultural backgrounds, they should know that the classroom is a safe place for their differences to unite. If equal expectations are known, the students should, in turn, be aware of the importance of their hard work, finding solidarity in their success.

As a future educator, the importance of knowledge will be constantly imperative in my classroom. Differences will be celebrated between students; however, the same common goal for all will be the importance of learning. I will constantly recognize the vitality of my teacher-efficacy, and help students find their own sense of efficacy, such as “a belief that they possess the power to make things happen- and teachers like these worked hard to develop that power within” (School Rules, p. 515). This is how the word “power” should be used. It is not a threat, or another word for authority, rather a feeling that a student can achieve any goal and with the help of a teacher, parent, or community, can reach any height.

Teachers are held accountable at all times, and unless they are intentional in all of their actions, some information might be misleading to students. I will be sure to be conscious of my actions and deliberate in the delivery of knowledge. Students can be influenced so easily, and seeing their teachers as sources of information I will be sure to only answer questions that I know the answer to. If the answer is unclear I will wait to answer until I know the correct response. This is another reason teachers can misuse the power of education and knowledge. In School Rules, a concerned parent shares how he was “disturbed by the tremendous influence teachers have over students and the power imbalance that leads youngsters to believe that teachers always know what they’re doing even when they don’t” (p. 523). Every student deserves the best education and accurate distribution of knowledge.


A good education can change a child’s life forever, and if given the chance, they can change the world. It will be my job as a teacher to be involved in my students’ lives, the community, and be a constant role model. When all students are given the chance to be responsible and follow expectations, they are given structure and guidance that they might not receive on an every day basis. I will see that each and every one of my students can succeed and believe in themselves and each other, and see no boundaries, but rather opportunities. They will learn to use the most powerful device of knowledge to the best of their ability, in hopes that they reflect and share their knowledge with others as well.













Delpit, L. (1996). The politics of teaching literate discourse. In W. Ayers and P. Ford (Eds.), City kids, city teachers: Reports from the front row (pp. 194-208). New York: New Press.

Jossey-bass, First name. Bailey, Susan. (2002). Gender in education school rules. : A wiley company.

{LaGravenese} {Richard} (Director). ({2007}) {Freedom Writers} [Motion picture]. {USA}: {Paramount Pictures}.

Poplin, M., & Weeres, J. (1992). Voices from the inside: A report on schooling from inside the classroom. Claremont, CA: Claremont Graduate School, Institute for Education in Transformation.

Sergiovanni, T. (2000). The lifeworld of leadership: Creating culture, community, and personal meaning in our schools. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Steinberg, Stephen. (2001). The ethnic myth new darwinism. Boston: Beacon press.

Wasley, P., Hampel, R., & Clark, R. (1997). Kids and school reform. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Williams, Belinda. Bernard, Bonnie. (2003). Closing the achievement gap. : .


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