The Greatest Gift a Teacher can Give

What is the power of expectation and mindset?  It is not only huge but it trumps ability every time.  In an education world that has become increasing obsessed with data, testing and assessment, what role does a teacher’s positive expectations play in a student’s performance?  Apparently it  is the greatest gift a teacher can give a child.

In a classic research study done in the 1960’s, Robert Rosenthal explored the power of teacher expectation on the performance of students in their classroom.  Listen to the amazing results of that study…

This study is as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago.  How can this information  influence us as educators and parents?

We can pay attention to:

The climate:  Are we creating an encouraging, warm environment where kids feel safe to ask questions and make mistakes?

The possibilities:  Are we providing expanded opportunities for every child to learn and explore?

The response opportunity factor:  Are we giving each child a chance to participate and to talk at length? How are we modeling critical thinking?

The positive feedback: Are we looking for opportunities to praise and encourage?  Do we accept less from some students because we think they are not capable, rather than challenging them to be more and learn more?

Mindset and expectations are more than just thinking positively.  It isn’t just visualizing success.  Instead it is creating a specific environment through intentional interaction that fosters the  creativity, the imagination and the innate ability of each child.

What do you think about this classic study?  Have you seen examples of this at work, either positively or negatively? I’d love to hear your experience in the comment section!