Meeting and Exceeding Student Expectations of Teachers: A Way to Achieve “Good” Teaching

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Go into most public school classrooms and you will see a sign, usually in the front of the classroom, listing what the teacher expects of students in classroom behavior.

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Experienced teachers advise new ones to make these rules explicit and enforce them from day one. Folk wisdom among veteran teachers is that expecting this behavior and equitably acting on the rules will lead to an orderly classroom. So most new and experienced teachers, believing this advice and wanting a well-managed classroom,  list classroom rules. Some adventurous teachers have students construct the rules since they are well aware of acceptable classroom behavior from previous teachers.

In addition to behavior, what teachers expect of students academically influences achievement. Researchers have established that when teachers have high or low expectations of what their students can achieve–especially low-income and minority students–those expectations color what students do achieve (Journal of Teacher Education-1987-Good-32-47).

The…

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