ERIC Number: EJ901332
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-13
Reference Count: N/A
Raising Expectations is Aim of New Effort
Sparks, Sarah D.
Education Week, v30 n7 p1, 16-17 Oct 2010
Researchers and policymakers agree that teachers' expectations of what their students can do can become self-fulfilling prophecies for children's academic performance. Yet while the "soft bigotry of low expectations" has become an education catchphrase, scholars and advocates are just beginning to explore whether it is possible to prevent such expectations from taking root by making teachers and students aware of their beliefs about students. The National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, which works with school districts to train teachers to give students of all income levels and all racial and ethnic groups the same enriched instruction that students receive in gifted education programs, this year launched a program in Bridgeport, Connecticut; Greene County, Georgia; San Francisco; and Newark, New Jersey, to bring students and teachers together for lessons on cognitive development, instructional strategies, and lesson planning, with the students then modeling the instruction in a classroom for the teachers. The joint professional development course is intended to teach students to think critically about how they learn and are taught, while at the same time countering what the alliance's chief executive officer, Yvette Jackson, called a "focus on weakness." Prior research shows that teachers, particularly those who are white middle-class, tend to overemphasize academic and social challenges for poor and ethnic-minority students, sometimes overlooking students' potential to succeed. The idea behind involving students in professional-development workshops is to help teachers look at their students in a new way--and vice versa.
Descriptors: Educational Strategies, Academic Achievement, Minority Groups, Cognitive Development, Teacher Expectations of Students, Teacher Attitudes, Consciousness Raising, Teaching Methods, Planning, Lesson Plans, Faculty Development, Student Development, Workshops, At Risk Students, Social Bias, Middle School Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey