High Expectations Teaching - Christine Ruby-Davies

Nobody rises to low expectation - Calvin Lloyd

Are high expectations important? 

Educators who hold high expectations of their learners support their self-efficacy and belief. Whilst pushing their students to engage with challenging material, they are not only supporting higher achievement outcomes, but they are also demonstrating their belief in their learners, which in turn supports the students belief in themselves.

High expectations teachers hold the whole class accountable; they do not only hold high expectations of the 'extension' or 'accelerate' learners. These views are expressed both explicitly and implicitly through all areas of teaching. 

This could be through their teaching statements, feedback, questioning/responding, behaviour management and learning content. It's estimated that a full quarter of teachers can be identified as high expectation teachers, while between 1/6 and 1/8 of teachers hold low expectations of their learners.

Traits of high expectations teachers

  • High expectation teachers tend to use flexible or mixed ability grouping as opposed to ability grouping. This illustrated their expectation for the students to develop their ability throughout the year. 
  • They set clear goals with their students and provided them feedback to support them to meet these goals. 
  • They cultivated a class community where the students support each other. 
  • Their  learners have choices regarding their learning learning and take responsibility for their learning.
Rubie-Davies identifies the top three traits as being flexible grouping, establishing a positive class climate and goal setting. 

Handpicked extra reading: High expectations in STEAM

My takeaways

  • Keep flexible grouping and changing the groups within my class
  • Send notes home or call home when students have performed really well
  • Continue to set goals with learners and provide feedback based on these goals (this has been a focus over the past month and it has been going very well).
  • Keep checking that the students have a clear understanding of the learning intention and success criteria
  • Encourage the students to evaluate their progress based on their own goals.


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