Behind the Headline: Teachers’ Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform

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Teachers’ Expectations Can Influence How Students Perform
NPR| September 17, 2012

Behind the Headline
Climb Every Mountain
Education Next| Summer 2006

A story on NPR’s Morning Edition looks at how the expectations a teacher has for her students can affect the performance of those students. If teachers believe that certain students should make big gains, those students do make gains. How does this happen?

expectations affect teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.

The beliefs teachers have about their own responsibility also have an impact on student performance, according to a study that appeared in Ed Next in 2006. The study, by Laura LoGerfo, found that “teachers who take personal responsibility for student learning can improve student achievement; specifically, children with teachers who have a greater sense of responsibility for student outcomes learn more in reading during the 1st grade.”

“Unfortunately,” she continued, “teachers of economically disadvantaged students…are less likely to take responsibility for student outcomes.”

The study, “Climb Every Mountain: Teachers Who Think They Should Make a Difference…Do!” by Laura LoGerfo, appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of Education Next.

-Education Next

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