How high expectations enhance outcomes

Following on from what our Principal wrote about a few weeks ago, I’d like to explore further the concept of high expectations. Contemporary Education has rediscovered the role of creativity in learning and it has become recognised as one of the keys to success as an adult. Creative thinking has fuelled some wonderful opportunities for students which encourages them to think “outside the box” and dream of possibilities. Despite this, creativity is not enough: students can be creative but not achieve and not improve their work. So what else is needed?

High expectations.

There has to be high expectations that students will achieve their best. These expectations need to be within the culture of the school, within the values of the home and within the values of teachers as they work with students.

In classrooms, teachers need to find the balance between support and affirmation of effort and setting standards which call students to be accountable for producing their best work. Within trusting, respectful relationships between students and teachers, this can be achieved. Academic research has shown that the high expectations of teachers is a significant factor in student learning.

Therefore, when teachers require students to be punctual to class, to listen to explicit instructions, to know the learning intentions or objectives of a particular lesson and to work with diligence in class, they are building values and skills for success. When students are expected to complete homework and assignments on time, or to rewrite a piece of work because it is not that individual’s best standard of work, they are building high expectations for life. Intrinsic high expectations are evidenced when students have adopted these values for themselves and assumed responsibility for them through their actions.

High expectations for student learning are central to a St Andrew’s education and the key to life-long learning.

Mrs Adele Guy