Can other people’s expectations alter what you can do physically?
This question is the essence of a recent This American Life podcast, entitled Batman, which explores experiences of blind people and investigates the impact of other people’s expectations on what blind people can do. It’s fascinating!
As educators, starting a new school year here in Australia, this is a question worth pondering:
Can your expectations alter what your students can do?
In ‘handover meetings’, the previous year’s teachers share information about the students whom they ‘pass on’ to you, including their own opinions and bias.
Do you allow others’ perceptions to influence your expectations? To what extent do your expectations and, consequently those of the learners themselves, influence the learning? (Watch: Carol Dweck on Growth Mindset)
When learners repeatedly display particular behaviours, it’s easy to label them and begin to expect those behaviours.
Do you unintentionally respond in ways that reveal your expectations? To what extent do your words and expectations reinforce the behaviours and influence the learning? (Read: Choice Words by Peter Johnston)
Teachers often over plan activities to achieve desired outcomes, with little consideration of the value of student ownership of learning.
Do you play ‘guess what’s in my head’, waiting for the answers you expect? Do you control the learning? To what extent do your plans and expectations limit the learners and the learning? (Follow: Kath Murdoch’s inquiry blog Just Wondering)
So… Something to think about as you start the new school year…
How do your expectations influence learning?
Other posts for the new school year:
10 things to do on the first day of school
10 ways to think about your learning space
10 ways to encourage students to take responsibility for their learning
10 ways to get your students’ respect
10 ways to differentiate learning