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What Is It About Me You Can’t Teach?

Updated on January 6, 2013

Is it really the students, or are some teachers missing the boat?

Question: How do a teacher's high or low expectations affect the learning of children? In what ways will you ensure that you maintain high expectations for all students?

Answer: The high or low expectations of the teacher will translated to the student especially in how the teacher communicates with the students. The methods by which teachers address their students will then determine if the teacher’s perceived “high expectations” wording is truly an expectation of achievement or simply just a statement that teacher has been taught in order to feel like they are a part of the overall scheme and therefore a goal oriented team player. Maintaining high expectations must not only be communicated to the student, but must truly be expected and once a higher than original expectation is reach then reset the bar higher each time so that the student receives the important message that the teacher’s expectations are not simply goals to achieve, but an ever increasing standard that the student must work to meet the challenge.

Question: What are the factors that might inhibit student learning? In what ways will you assist your students in "beating the odds" despite these inhibitors?

Answer: “Metacognition requires the students to ask the question.” The question must be asked “Do I have the necessary data to answer the questions.” These two very important statement and question are vital in students “beating the odds” in that without the data or better yet tools needed to ensure student thinking processes and therefore invoking questions they (the student) can easily remain in the rut they think they are in at the beginning of school. Factors that could inhibit student learning are things or thought like, “I can’t because I was not only told that I can’t, but was never told that I can. My parents didn’t do well in school, or no family member has ever done well, so I will not do well.” Just to name two, these ideas and thoughts are significant in the learning process, not because they determine if a student is capable of learning, but whether or not the student is receptive to learning. Because as Henry Ford has said, “If I think that I can, I can. If I think that I cannot, I am right.” Teachers can assist students in beating the odds by inspiring them to beat their own defeatists’ thoughts…but only if those thought truly exist.

Question: What is one myth associated with educating diverse student populations that was dispelled for you?

Answer: Myth-What a teacher thinks or feels as in cultural bias does not affect how the teacher will teach.

Myth Dispelled: Our attitudes as teacher can and will affect whether positively or negatively how we teach children. If we hold an overly sympathetic view, we will tend to not hold the student accountable. As Mama J stated, “the students do not want us to feel sorry for them they want us to teach them.” However, if we feel that students of diverse background are using their situations as excuses, then the teacher can tend to be overly critical and therefore indirectly respond to students different. We act and react based on bias and that can leave that single student that the teacher might think is being belligerent might exact discipline when the child is simply excited and or passionate about the teacher. Cultural bias is dangerous in a classroom because the teacher does not get to choose their students, but the student can choose their teacher, or even school.


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