Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teacher Expectations

I saw an article today from Education Week that reviewed a research study about how teacher expectations can influence student achievement.  It states in the article that the fact that if teachers hold expectations for all students no matter what their income, race, etc. that the minority and low-income students perform significantly better.

I was not surprised by the fact that teacher expectations improve student achievement.  I see that everyday with my students.  The students that I work with do not do well in school, but I hold them to the same expectations that I would hold any "gifted" student.  These students rise to meet them despite the fact that everyone has said that they can't do it.  So the connection of the fact that minority and low-income students would do better with equal expectations makes sense.  If they are never expected to reach any higher than the stereotypes require them to, then they never will and/or they will think that they can't do better than that.

My firm belief is:
Thank you Pinterest for the cute way of displaying this....

We have to treat students as individuals---not as the group that they have been clumped into. So my question for today is, how do you keep expectations high for ALL your students?  The things that I do are:

  • Have the same expectation for everyone and I don't give anyone a break (though see below)
  • My fellow teachers know my expectations and help to back me up
  • I make sure that the expectations are reasonable for the student.  I hope that my students know that I do bend it toward their actual ability, but not until I know what that is.
  • I also show empathy for my students and spend time with them when they are struggling to understand the material, in which I have been known to give the occasional break.  The key is to not give them all the time or they will come to expect them.
What would you add to this list?

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