There's research on a 15 minute intervention that reduces the racial achievement gap. Seriously.
Helps African American students but doesn't hurt European American students. Lower achieving students get more of a boost than higher achieving students.
Works across content areas. The research is an experimental study, so it is causation not just correlation. From a short activity that fits into the first week of school mayhem.
And I hadn't heard of it until I read it for class this week.
Frequently, class discussions ask what's being done to implement the research we read. This week we asked why this article, which sounds like it should have gotten full-on media buzz, was new to everyone. (Including the Journalism professor.)
The original article was published in Science in 2006. A two-year follow up was published this April. (My professor says Science has a 98% rejection rate for social science articles. Multiple review levels. You don't get in without really good material.)
The intervention is simple. Give students a list of values and have them write about their two or three most important values.
The theory is that this intervention breaks a negative cycle. That some students feel like school doesn't care about me so I'll perform poorly making school cares less about me and I'll do worse...
Breaking that cycle can actually begin an opposite cycle. "Oh, maybe they do care. I can do better. They like me more, I'll do even better..."
I am oversimplifying. And the news article I found does caution, "This is not a silver bullet. The improvements came from the psychological interventions paired with good resources and good teachers."
But still, 15 minutes of class time. Less than the interruption that my old school is having for today's Halloween festivities. Potential for real change. (Low achieving African Americans had raised their GPA, on average, .41 points over two years where they repeated this activity a few times.) Why wasn't I doing this?
Why aren't you?