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close this bookTeaching (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 34 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe International Bureau of Education - IBE
View the documentSeries preface
View the documentOfficers of the International Academy of Education
View the documentIntroduction
View the document1. A supportive classroom climate
View the document2. Opportunity to learn
View the document3. Curricular alignment
View the document4. Establishing learning orientations
View the document5. Coherent content
View the document6. Thoughtful discourse
View the document7. Practice and application activities
View the document8. Scaffolding students’ task engagement
View the document9. Strategy teaching
View the document10. Co-operative learning
View the document11. Goal-oriented assessment
View the document12. Achievement expectations
View the documentConclusion
View the documentReferences
View the documentThe International Academy of Education

12. Achievement expectations

The teacher establishes and follows through on appropriate expectations for learning outcomes.

Research findings

Research indicates that effective schools feature strong academic leadership that produces consensus on goal priorities and commitment to instructional excellence, as well as positive teacher attitudes towards students and expectations regarding their abilities to master the curriculum. Teacher effects research indicates that teachers who elicit strong achievement gains accept responsibility for doing so. They believe that their students are capable of learning and that they (the teachers) are capable of and responsible for teaching them successfully. If students do not learn something the first time, they teach it again, and if the regular curriculum materials do not do the job, they find or develop others that will.

In the classroom

Teachers’ expectations concerning what their students are capable of accomplishing (with teacher help) tend to shape both what teachers attempt to elicit from their students and what the students come to expect from themselves. Thus, teachers should form and project expectations that are as positive as they can be while still remaining realistic. Such expectations should represent genuine beliefs about what can be achieved and therefore should be taken seriously as goals towards which to work in instructing students.

It is helpful if teachers set goals for the class and for individuals in terms of floors (minimally acceptable standards), not ceilings. Then they can let group progress rates, rather than limits adopted arbitrarily in advance, determine how far the class can go within the time available. They can keep their expectations for individual students current by monitoring their progress closely and by stressing current performance over past history.

At the very least, teachers should expect all their students to progress sufficiently to enable them to perform satisfactorily at the next level. This implies holding all students accountable for participating in lessons and learning activities and for turning in careful and completed work on assignments. It also implies that, in addition to the other elements of good teaching summarized in the preceding principles, struggling students will receive whatever extra time, instruction and encouragement are needed to enable them to meet expectations.

When individualizing instruction and giving students feedback, teachers should emphasize continuous progress relative to previous levels of mastery rather than how students compare with their classmates or with standardized test norms. Instead of merely evaluating relative levels of success, teachers can diagnose learning difficulties and provide feedback accordingly. If students have not understood an explanation or demonstration, teachers can follow through by re-teaching (if necessary, in a different way rather than by merely repeating the original instruction).

In general, teachers are likely to be most successful when they think in terms of stretching students’ minds by stimulating them and encouraging them to achieve as much as they can, not in terms of ‘protecting’ them from failure or embarrassment.

References: Brophy (1998); Creemers & Scheerens (1989); Good & Brophy (2000); Shuell (1996); Teddlie & Stringfield (1993).