Forty-five faculty members from Shortridge Magnet High School and 20 faculty from Butler collaborated in the workshop “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning through the Lens of Asset-based Thinking™” July 31 and Aug. 1 at Butler.

CRT Through the Lens of ABT workshopA faculty emphasis at Shortridge Magnet since its opening, culturally responsive teaching (CRT) recognizes that, when students and teachers come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, educators can aid students’ learning by adjusting their teaching approach and relating course content to the students’ cultural context.

Asset-Based Thinking (ABT) is a management approach to building cooperation by making small shifts in perception that focus on positive aspects of daily life. Faculty and staff in Butler’s College of Education have studied ABT and helped introduce it to other University operations.

Here, Shortridge Principal Stanley Law reflects on the workshop:

“CRT Through the Lens of ABT” was just what the doctor ordered for the Shortridge family of teachers and our Butler friends entering the 2012-13 school year — a pivotal year for the IPS-Butler partnership at Shortridge as we collaborate to improve the achievement of all students.

I left the CRT-ABT workshop feeling uplifted, charged up and ready to embark on a productive and effective school year.

Several of the teachers have engaged students in ABT Action Labs. During our professional learning community time, the administrative team used the 5:1 Action Lab, in which teachers reflected on five successes and one challenge they experienced during the first week of school. It highlighted the many positives throughout the school, fostered collegiality and afforded staff the opportunity to collaborate on real solutions to deficits.

Starting the week of Aug. 13, the administrative team will take an “I in You” inventory and discuss the results as a team. The inventory’s goal is to build more understanding about decision-making, knowing each other’s strengths, and using our respective strengths to supports each other’s areas of struggle.

The CRT and ABT philosophies are critical to the success of the Shortridge family. We are committed to institutionalizing a culture around the concepts of ABT to ensure a strong knowledge, understanding and affirmation of the varied cultures represented in our students and staff. Shortridge will purchase copies of the ABT book Change the Way You See Everything for Teens for every staff member, so they will have the resource to assist them in becoming more culturally responsive teachers.

The workshop was jointly sponsored by a grant from Ruth Lilly Philanthropic Foundation, the Butler Faculty Development Program and the College of Education.