Responsive

The field of education is anything but static. Reform efforts abound, as do the inevitable controversies that swirl around them. How to locate oneself and position one's work in such a dynamic context is a primary challenge for today's educators. 

But as much as things change in our districts, schools, and classrooms, many of our thorniest problems remain the same. Disproportionate disciplinary outcomes, inequitable achievement results, alarming graduation/pushout/dropout rates, increasing segregation, insufficient college and career readiness, rampant poverty, institutionalized racism, and many more issues show us how far we have to go to realize the potential of our schools. To address such trends and successfully navigate the shifting terrain on which good teaching and learning occurs, educators need to be responsive: culturally, politically, ethically, professionally, interpersonally, and locally. 

Dr. Toshalis is committed to supporting educator responsiveness and to cultivating forms of accountability that bolster teacher professionalism rather than deplete it. His consultations with educators integrate analyses of current trends with the tools educators need to address them. Some recent Tweets about his work can be found here.

And some topics of recent focus include:

  • Culturally responsive classroom discipline: Equity, safety, productivity—and fun!
  • Counter-intuitive teaching: Using student opposition to enhance motivation
  • Transforming adolescents: The role of possibility and imagination in our work with youth
  • Interpretive gaps: The differences between teacher & student perspectives, and why they matter
  • Motivation and engagement: The how and the what of good teaching
  • Reaching the organizer within: Self-regulation and the struggling learner
  • Making things happen: Risk-taking and resistance in adolescents
  • Disproportionate disciplinary outcomes: Roots of the problem & low-hanging fruit
  • Meaning-making, not just note-taking: Busy-work and student (mis)behavior
  • What kind of classroom manager are you? An inventory and improvement plan
  • The teacher's checklist for an engaging classroom
  • Quick strategies for collegial engagement and continuous improvement
  • Teaching through questioning: Asking your way to deeper learning 
  • I win, you lose: The toxicity of praise
  • Self-esteem is a dead end, but self-efficacy rocks!
  • Responding to anger in the classroom: Taking the heat, not the bait
  • White women's tears and White men's facts: Overcoming barriers to racial equity
  • "You're picking on me because I'm Black": Engaging racialized accusations
  • The whiteness of behavioral norms and turn-taking in classroom talk
  • Racial identity formation and students' need to resist school
  • The teaching myths that drive inequity, pushout, and underachievement
  • How we provoke student resistance through "common sense" practices
  • Building a classroom management plan anchored in equity and research
  • Adolescent cognitive development and the brain-based classroom
  • Avoidance and self-handicapping: Making your classroom an unsafe space for intentional failure
  • Skipping class: How to recognize and remove the classism that may be infecting school practices
  • Feeling known and understood: The social-emotional factors that shape student engagement
  • Assimilation isn't good for kids (or teachers): Prioritizing authenticity in classrooms and schools
  • Dangerous dignity: Student who resist to survive and what you can do to help them
  • Not taking student resistance personally (even when it is)