“Sometimes teacher expectations are linked to the perceived social class of the student… [hence] teacher expectations can play an important role in determining the educational achievement of the child” (Spring, 2015, p. 84). “Sometimes teacher expectations are linked to the perceived social class of the student… [hence] teacher expectations can play an important role in determining the educational achievement of the child” (Spring, 2015, p. 84).
Lawrence Lezotte points out in his book, “What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the Correlates”, that the perception that home and family situations are the largest factor in a student’s ability to learn is detrimental to the individual growth of that student. Blaming out-of-school factors can be a roadblock to finding school solutions to ensure all students learn. We need to be empathetic toward our students and their different situations, but we should not feel sorry for them, causing us to lower our expectations. Sometimes the greatest demonstration of understanding for a student and their situation is to provide consistent high expectations with proper encouragement to support the student to meet those expectations. The greatest good we may be able to do for a student is helping them to believe they can and will learn.
Caroline Dweck in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” provides studies that prove many students that are held to certain proficiency standards actually decline once they reach high school compared to students who are held to rigorous growth standards. However, I still see schools changing expectations for students who live in poverty. I have made a conscious effort everyday to impart a growth mindset in all of my students. There is no time for excuses or lowered expectations.
I believe that a student’s resiliency and grit are stronger than the culmination of his or her barriers. I have always held myself accountable to help foster a self-confidence in each of my students that they have the ability to learn and grow every day. In a time with the pressures of the teaching the Common Core and high stakes testing, we must remember the importance of cultivating grit.
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
Lezotte, L. W., & Snyder, K. M. (2011). What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the correlates. Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree Press.
Spring, J. (2016). American education (17th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.