Stallings Elementary Teacher Named Participate Learning Teacher of the Year

Mr. Jake Roberts, 2020 Participate Learning Teacher of the Year (Photo courtesy: Ollie Trott)

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STALLINGS, NC – Jake Roberts, a third-grade teacher at Stallings Elementary, has earned the title of 2020 Participate Learning Teacher of the Year. Roberts, originally from London, England, has been with Stallings Elementary for the last two years. He taught previously in the U.K. before making his way to North Carolina as a global learning ambassador.

Mr. Roberts with some of his students
Photograph from Katie Conklin. Mr. Roberts with some of his students.

The secret to successful teaching, he said, is to find a way to relate to each and every child in the classroom. Roberts said that getting a child engaged in learning, and wanting to learn, is key to their success as students. He also said that, while it is important to help his students develop intellectually, it is equally important to help students develop socially and emotionally, preparing them to face the rigors of day to day life. 

Participate Learning describes their teachers of the year as those who transcend expectations in the core competencies of sharing their cultures, mastering instruction, expanding their leadership impact, adopting a growth mindset, and embodying inclusivity, in and out of the classroom. 

Roberts embodies these values, and values of his own, throughout his teaching. One particularly outstanding aspect of Roberts’ approach is his ability to engage reluctant readers and writers, encouraging students to enjoy learning. One technique that Roberts employs is the Talk for Writing approach, created by English author, and educational trainer, Pie Corbett. 

Since its inception, the Talk for Writing approach has become an essential aspect of the English primary school curriculum. The approach allows students to engage verbally with the language of the topics at hand, prior to analyzing the language, and finally writing with that language for themselves. 

Roberts implements the Talk for Writing approach in a number of ways, but one that stands out is his dragon trap exercise.

Students are given scripts, memorizing the content and the actions of the script, in attempts to capture a dragon. Meanwhile, Roberts is in constant contact with dragon experts, preparing a dragon trap for the playground. Once students have learned the script, and the dragon trap is prepared, the dragon hunters prepare storyboards to envision their goal. Next, the plans are put into action; capturing the dragon, and saving the citizens of London, and Stallings, on multiple occasions.

Upon completion of the dragon trapping quest, students are tasked with altering the script to create an alternative narrative, in search of their own mythical creature. Through this method, Roberts said, students, can overcome an indifference, or even an aversion, to reading and writing, and begin to take great pride in their work.

Congratulations Mr. Roberts, for earning the distinction of 2020 Participate Learning Teacher of the Year. Thank you, and all teachers for your dedication to enriching the lives of the futures of our communities. 

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