We need every teacher to believe in the full potential of every kid. Most of us share this belief, in theory. In practice, things get a little more complicated. It’s easy, for example, in a school where most students underperform, to adjust our expectations of what is possible to fit what we see. It is much more challenging to hold a vision that extends beyond the status quo, and help kids grow into that vision.
Here seven powerful practices you can use in your school to raise expectations for all students, especially ELLs, students of color, students living in poverty, or any students who are not yet thriving.
The language we use to talk about students matters. It reflects and shapes our perceptions, and most importantly, our expectations for student success.
In your school, make a courageous commitment to shift all staff conversations about kids and their families from a deficit mindset, which views diversity as a problem kids bear, to an asset mindset: one which truly values students and their communities for the diversity they bring. Begin by reframing these four sentences.
No matter how good our intentions to be free of prejudice, we all have implicit biases that can have a serious impact on our work in schools.
Implicit bias refers to stereotypes or attitudes that affect our decisions and actions. Unlike explicit bias, which is intentional and part of our belief systems, implicit bias is an association we have that is unconscious and unintentional.
In a new study, Gershenson, Hold, & Papageorge (2015) reveal that non-black teachers have lower expectations than black teachers for the same black students in the same schools. How do white educators respond to these findings? Do we point the finger at others, or get personal to reflect humbly on what we each might better understand about ourselves, and change?
I wrote this poem about being an outsider in China in an effort to build empathy for what I have never experienced: being a new immigrant in the United States. I wrote it primarily for monolingual English speakers in my country who ask about immigrants, “Why do they stay together and speak their language?” “Why don’t they learn English?”