As a literacy coach in a large urban district, I work with a wide variety of individuals and groups; students, parents, teachers and administrators in individual, small and large group situations. Nearly 80% of the students in my district are non-white; 34% speak over 100 different languages and dialects.
Most of the teaching staff is white. I hoped this book would help me be more effective in understanding and working with the racial and ethnic complexities of our students and their families as well as inform the work I do with teachers.
I discovered as I read Filter Shift that filters (the lenses through which we view our experiences) are present in all of our interactions, not just across the obvious differences of race, gender, age, class, or position. They deal with things like perceptions, habits or preferences, and they are automatic and often false. If we want to be more effective, we need to learn to recognize our filters, and determine if they interfere with effective communication.
Taylor does not attach judgment to these filters; they are how the human mind categorizes and makes sense of the world. Educators are constantly searching for ways to improve student achievement, and Taylor’s message is positive and affirming while providing very concrete steps to help us become more self-aware and thoughtful in all our professional and personal interactions.
Filter Shift is an easy read but profound. I can already see how it will help me in the day to day work with my students and teachers. Equally important, it will be invaluable in my relationships with my family and friends. I am looking forward to delving into the online tools that accompany the book.