The title says it all, doesn't it? The Pew Research survey, and this article defines traditional family as two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage. Yet this arrangement is still usually presented and assumed to be the norm. Assuming these trends continue, teachers will need to update their views and assumptions about their students’ families.
Be sure to check out module three in this resource--"Biased Class Assignments - and How to Fix Them.” There are many great alternative ideas for adoption-friendly assignments. After reading this list, you will definitely be able to make all your students more comfortable with family background-type assignments. I also like the suggestion to stress that many children in the world do not grow up with nuclear, two-parent (mother and father) families and that family is a very diverse concept.
Several of the resources in this collection come from parents, not researchers or educators. This makes sense, if you stop and think about it. After all, who cares most about this issue? The mom who offered this post gives several viable modifications to make family history/biography assignments less stressful for adopted children. One example is to allow a timeline of one's life to start at any point, not necessarily at birth.
Yes, this blog post is directed at parents, not primarily at teachers. I included it because this parent conveys the heartbreak of hearing her child describe feeling empty and sad during a "heritage assignment," which ended in the child staring at a blank sheet of paper, not knowing what to write. The parent shares a letter she wrote to her children's teachers. She makes a couple of really good suggestions.
There are really no big surprises in this video. It's not intended to explain the process of adoption, or even its emotional effects on children. In fact, it doesn't actually explain anything. It simply allows children and teenagers to share openly what adoption means to them and their family. Interestingly, some of the children appear alongside their adopted siblings.
The first topic covered in this PDF guide includes summaries of how most children view and understand adoption at different developmental stages. Various solutions to problematic assignments are given, as well. I like the idea of letting a child choose a biologically-related group of people to study in genetics/science, rather than insisting that a child must address his or her own genetic traits and where they came from (eye color, for example).
This guide, mainly for teachers, begins by explaining why some well-intentioned teacher assignments can be difficult and painful for some students who were adopted. The most common adoption-unfriendly assignments are listed, along with ways to modify or broaden them, so that children who do not have access to the early history can complete the assignment.