Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Growth Mindset at MHS

Please read the article,  "Do We Really Have High Expectations for All?"

Respond to the following questions:
  • Do you agree/disagree with the author's statement "when we have high expectations, we treat students differently?" Why?
  • Do you agree with the thought that our actions reflect our expectations of our students?  Explain.
  • What are your thoughts concerning Robert Marzano's categories of our affective tone and academic content interactions (Chart).
  • What was your most important "take away" from the article?

Do We Really Have High Expectations for All?

by MiddleWeb · 07/28/2015
By Barbara Blackburn
Do you have high expectations for your students? I’ve never met a teacher who said, “I have low expectations for my students.” The challenge is that we sometimes have hidden low expectations of certain students.
One year, early in my teaching career, several teachers “warned” me about Daniel, a new student in my room. During class, he certainly lived up to (really down to) the teachers’ comments. Despite my efforts, my expectations for him became lower, with the words “They warned me” echoing in the back of my mind.
Right from the start, no matter what anyone tells us, we have to be on guard to ensure that we keep high expectations in place for every single student.

Our behaviors speak loudest

Of course we may believe in high expectations for all the kids in our classroom but not translate those expectations into actions that support our beliefs. Instead, our actions may inadvertently undermine high expectations for all. When this happens, you can be sure students are quick to notice.
Robert Marzano has spent decades researching effective teaching practice. He and others have found that when we have high expectations, we treat students differently. When questioning
students, we call on them more often, ask more challenging questions, provide more wait time, and probe for additional information.
How often do we fail to use these same strategies with struggling learners?
I know I made that mistake as a new teacher. Quinn struggled in my class, and nothing I did seemed to work. I ended up putting him in the last row of my classroom. As long as he behaved, I didn’t call on him or push him to participate.
Even though I said I expected all my students to learn, I didn’t really show that to Quinn. And he understood my message. One day, we talked about his performance in my class, and he said, “Why should I try? You don’t think I can do anything.”
That was an eye-opener for me. I was so focused on making sure he behaved and didn’t interrupt the learning flow that I didn’t challenge him. I was content to let him be a passive learner. My actions reflected subconscious low expectations.

The problem isn’t that we do not care

Another year, I had a similar situation with Clarissa. She was bright but had no confidence in her ability to excel. Her lack of self-efficacy caused her tremendous learning problems. She wasn’t willing to try to learn anything new or challenging.
I wanted to boost her confidence, so I provided easier work for her to complete. Instead of multi-step math problems, I gave her single-step problems. When we were reading, I allowed her to read easier books, many of which she had read before. I wanted her to feel successful.
I cared about her, but what I didn’t realize was that I wasn’t doing my job. I wasn’t teaching her to learn and grow—I was content to leave her in her comfort zone. By doing so, I also showed her I didn’t think she could do any better.
Once again, despite my comments to her that she could learn and that I had high expectations for her, my actions didn’t reflect my belief.
We have to match our beliefs about expectations to our daily actions in the classroom.

Which actions best define your expectations?

Many researchers have detailed specific actions we take that are reflective of low expectations. I’ve used Robert Marzano’s categories (2010) of our affective tone and our academic content interactions to provide a summary.low-expectations-table

The opposite is also true. When we have high expectations, we act in certain, converse ways. Which of these actions do you use?
Consider your students. Are any of the actions true for you with specific young adolescents? I’ve found that we sometimes act in these ways subconsciously, not even realizing that we are doing so. It’s important to be aware of the ways we act on high and low expectation so we can monitor ourselves, reflect, and make adjustments if needed.

Motivation leads to achievement

Teachers need to have high expectations for every child in the classroom – and never more so than when our students have low expectations for themselves. It’s critical that we examine our beliefs to ensure they do represent a view of success for our struggling students. Then we must examine our behaviors closely, using the observational data from Marzano and others, to determine whether we are putting our beliefs into action.
By making our positive actions match our high expectations, we not only motivate our struggling learners, we help them achieve at higher levels.

Reference: Marzano, R. J. (September, 2010). High expectations for all.Educational Leadership, 68 1. ASCD.



    1. Personally, I feel the expectations I have for students have an impact on the way I treat them. I don't think it comes across as good or bad. If my expectations are high, I expect students to meet them and challenge them to do so. However, sometimes I adjust and/or accommodate the student(s) that typically struggle to meet high expectations. The expectation doesn't change, but my delivery method, timeline, and conversation often does.

      Our actions really do reflect our expectations of students. If we have low expectations our actions are not going to be equivalent to the actions we demonstrate if we had high expectations. Our conversation with students change; what we consider high quality work even changes.

      I would agree with the overwhelming majority of Robert Marzano's thoughts relative to academic content interactions in regards to high or low expectations. I have experienced these type of results observing teachers through my years in administration. When I reflect back to when I was a teacher this was typically the characteristics of my teaching practices. However, it has not been my experience to frequently observe the list regarding affective tone. Actually, the top 4 on the list I have observed teachers do more to encourage students that experienced difficulty meeting high expectations. Most of the tones listed were negative.

      I do want to be more conscientious of my body language and conversation when addressing students. This article also gives me a different perspective as I observe different classes throughout the day.

    2. Having a high expectation for students does not look the same for every student in your classroom. Not every student will perform on the same level, but every student can perform to the best of their ability. It's getting every student to rise to challenge that is most difficult for me. I don't think the author was a very good teacher to Quinn. Instead of guiding Quinn through challenges so the he could succeed, he simply put him away so that Quinn wouldn't be an issue in class. Those actions showed that because of his low expectations he treated Quinn differently. I don't know of any teacher that has low expectations of their students. I do know that some students struggle more than others, and they need even more positive reinforcement than others. Students need chances to succeed. So maybe you don't ask the highest level question to the struggling student, but you ask a series of questions that he/she can answer. You slowly build confidence in each and every student, even if they answer wrong, their ideas are still valued, and this will help them become more confident. Teachers need to give positive feedback in a safe environment where the student does not have to worry about ridicule or embarrassment. It's the self fulfilling prophecy: If a student believes they can, they will. It's our job to help foster that belief so that they can succeed.
      If a student knows the teacher is going to challenge them, they often will rise to the challenge. Failures are still learning opportunities. Students will try harder and do better for teachers that they believe care for them. If you look at the last chart, all of those practices will foster a classroom climate of learning (with the exception of the "more physical contact", I'm not sure that would be considered a 'best practice').
      I think that by becoming more aware of my attitude towards my more difficult students, I can be a better teacher to them.

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    4. We must know our students. We must also be aware of their perceptions about us. Are our actions reflecting high expectations? It is easy to leave students in their comfort zone, but what is that saying to those students? We must examine our beliefs about struggling students and students with high academic standings. We must teach all students to learn and grow. If all students are not at the same level of understanding, then how do we get them there? I agree with Marzano that we need to make sure our “positive actions” meet our high expectations. Our behavior toward students is important and key, but we must also monitor our students’ growth through data reflection. Creating a data-safe classroom culture where students have a growth mindset is essential. Students strive to personally improve upon their individual goals. We must build confidence using data and give individual students quick wins with skills or behaviors they can actually measure and improve. When we have the data that shows us where our students are, then we will know how to move them through personalized questioning and instruction. This is one positive action we can take to meet our high expectations of students.

      1. Yes, I agree that it is important for our students to see growth to continually build their confidence. They can definitely see the small steps when they track their progress and reflect on it! Think about the students who are in "red" on our STAR data. Some students may never move out of the red zone, but they can definitely be proud of improving their score through hard work! (Thanks to Dr. Morgan for that example!)

    5. The first thing that really stood out to me was from the chart “teacher actions that reflect low expectations.” The statement read, “Reward them for less rigorous responses.” Most of my classes are pretty rigorous, specifically the AP and preAP classes. I have found myself praising student’s responses (students being the ones who have a little more trouble with content) that are no were near the appropriate AP level just because they do not typically answer questions. I would not accept that from all my students, so why should I accept that from them? I can see the need for teachers to have students meet their high expectations, rather than the teacher lowering theirs to meet the students.
      I agree with the author statement “when we have high expectations, we treat students differently." Students will also try to get away with as little work as possible. If they know that if they answer a question with I don’t know, and you’ll tell them the correct answer immediately, what motivates them to try? Students know when you have high expectations, and that you expect more than just a generic response. Asking them less challenging/less specific questions is providing them with a disservice. I can imagine that the affective tone from the teacher could also play a huge role in the student. If you ask a question across the room, and don’t bother to make eye contact, the student could see this is a way call them out, and make the student seem less intelligent to the class. Going back to students wanting to do as little as possible, I also believe that it is important to maintain pace with your content. I have noticed myself slowing down on subject areas way to long when the students should be ones making effort to keep up with our pace. This is why having good methods of tracking student’s data could keep the students accountable for their learning.
      Something else I noticed from the article was that most of the teacher actions seemed too happed subconsciously. We might not mean to call on the student less or provide less wait time, but that doesn’t mean we are not doing it. We need to be more cognitive of how we interact with the students.


    6. I do agree with this statement that “when we have high expectations, we treat students differently.” I feel as if in order to have high expectations for students we have to treat them differently in order to challenge them to their full potential. Depending on each individual student we should have high expectations for all— some just might deserve higher expectations. If all student’s had the same high expectations then we would lose sight of those possible innovators in the classroom that could easily excel on to greater things. Those student’s would either not be challenged enough and become bored or your other students that are not quite on their level would become discouraged. Because of this we need to make sure we are constantly challenging students in order for them to grow. This causes students to rise to the occasion and show what they are really capable of doing instead of limiting them. I also agree with the statement that our actions reflect our expectations of our students. I for one being a first year teacher know how hard it is to make sure you are not calling on a specific student more than others. I am currently still working on getting to know my students on a personal level that way I can better understand their learning needs and I guarantee that I subconsciously do things in my class or call on certain students instead of others simply because I know what students know the answer. I do this not because I know that student has the right answer but also because these students tend to make eye contact with me and due to my subconscious I am excited to see that the student has an answer right or wrong. This is something that I am currently working on so the quiet children in the room get the chance to prove their level of understanding. My most important take away from this article is the affective tone and academic content interactions at the end of the article. Some of the examples listed have opened my eyes to things that I do subconsciously and with that being said has caused me to be aware of the expectations I have for my students so I can better monitor my actions, reflect, then make adjustments where they are needed.

      1. "these students tend to make eye contact with me and due to my subconscious I am excited to see that the student has an answer right or wrong" - I agree. I think we tend to gravitate towards those students that make eye contact and seem to be hanging on to our every word and are eager to learn! We have to make a conscious choice to include our more reluctant learners.

    7. I agree with the statement that when we have high expectations, we treat students differently. It places each student on an equal playing field and raises the bar for each student regardless of their perceived ability. Additionally, I agree that our actions reflect our expectations of our students. If we show students that we believe in them and remain positive toward students, it illustrates our purpose for being there. When examining Marzano's affective tone and academic content interactions, it is clear that we must monitor our conscious and subconscious behaviors and actions in the classroom in an effort to reflect high expectations. This is essentially my most important "take-away"--to be more mindful of my body language in the classroom and when dealing with students.

    8. I somewhat agree with the author’s statement “when we have high expectations, we treat students differently.” This very thought process is what has led me for the vast majority of my career to see the strengths in all of my students. I often try to “fake them out” into believing they are the best and brightest regardless of their actual ability level. Most students will rise to the expectations one sets for them, and if the bar is high, they often exceed what may have been their true ability level. Sometimes the confidence that we exude transfers to the students, and they do begin to develop the skills necessary to achieve what we convince them they can.

      I had not given the author’s opinions about teacher interactions that reflect high or low expectations much thought. I think we all interact with students differently, and what may be considered low or high teacher actions to some may be the opposite for others.

      My “take away” from the article is probably the need to be aware of teacher-student interactions in order to avoid inadvertently sending students the wrong message.

      1. Most students will rise to the expectations one sets for them, and if the bar is high, they often exceed what may have been their true ability level - I AGREE!

    9. I do agree with the author’s statement, but I don’t think it is that cut-and-dry. To be effective, teachers must invest in the students’ learning at an individual level and be able to connect with that student about the expectations. Building those relationships is what fosters achievement and learning.

      Teachers’ actions certainly reflect our expectations for students. Formative assessments, probing questions, purposeful planning, and other aspects of the daily teacher life reflect the desire to make a difference in the lives of students. Without these, no true teaching is taking place. Other actions, such as those mentioned in the chart – the ones which aren’t necessarily strategic in nature like body language and verbal cues – also promote high expectations.

      My take away from the article is simply a reminder that we need to be mindful of modeling high expectations to students. I tell my AP students very often that they need to show in their writing and not simply tell. We should take that same approach when communicating expectations to our students.

      1. I like your reminder that it is about building relationships and providing a safe environment for learning.

    10. I believe we have high expectations for our students, but sometimes I am afraid we fall into the category of saying one thing and our actions reflecting another. I think this happens more often than we acknowledge. We do it subconsciously, without realizing it. When we allow our students to not participate in class, have ear buds in their ears during lectures or group assignments, allow heads on desks, and the use of devices for nonacademic purposes, we are sending a message that we do not have very high academic expectations of them. We are sending the message that as long as they are quiet and not disruptive, then the behavior is acceptable. I also agree with the article that sometimes we are so concerned with wanting our students to experience success, we modify assignments and lower our expectations of what is required. In both of these situations, even if we fully believe that all students can learn and be successful, our actions are showing the exact opposite.

      My most important "take away" from the article is, “We have to match our beliefs about expectations to our daily actions in the classroom.” We must set our expectations to meet the needs of the highest achieving student in our class and motivate and encourage all of our students to work hard to meet our high expectations. We must establish this culture from the beginning. It also takes a lot of persistence, praise, and scaffolding to help our students continue to improve. When our students begin to experience small successes, especially when struggling through a tough assignment, their mindset begins to shift from “I can’t” or “I’m not smart enough” to pride in what they can accomplish. We must constantly be their biggest advocate and continually reassure them that although the task may seem daunting, they are capable of accomplishing much more than they can ever imagine!

    11. I agree with the author’s statement regarding expectations. Students look to teachers for direction and setting high expectations of each student will allow them to set high expectations for themselves. I do believe it does not look the same for every student. I think it is a teacher’s job to get to know their students and determine their strengths and weaknesses. I think if a teacher reflects a low expectation they are not connecting with their students. The biggest “take away” for me is while we strive to create engaging lessons for our students, we also need to be engaged with our students. Letting them know the objective at the beginning of class and assuring them that by the end they will have mastered it lets them know of our expectations.

    12. I agree with the statement "when we have high expectations, we treat students differently". I don’t feel that the high expectations for one student is the same high expectation of the other student. As teachers we need to get to know our students on a personal level. We need to find out what makes them tick, their interests, what they do in their free time. I have found that the first step is taking an active role in their lives and not just on an academic level. When we know their interests, then we can truly set high expectations for each student on an individual basis.

      I also agree with the thought that our actions reflect our expectations of our students. Robert Marzano's categories of our affective tone and academic content interactions was eye opening to say the least. This was probably my biggest “take away” from the article. As I was reading this I was thinking, “Oh no! I do that. Oh no! I do that too!” I definitely have to be more conscious of this. If I am only engaging in conversation with those that consistently make eye contact with me or seem actively engaged in my lesson then, of course, the others will never change their behavior. So, for those students to chime in on my lesson, I will have to change what I am doing first.

    13. I completely agree that "when we have high expectations, we treat students differently." However, those "high expectations" can be fluid. While I have high expectations for all of my student, those expectations differ from class to class and even from student to student. The key is knowing your students and being able to anticipate their needs and fostering an environment where they feel comfortable and confident in reaching their goals.
      Our actions reflect our expectations of our students in the fact that we set the tone for our students. Students are never going to rise to or above our expectations without being challenged. If we do not challenge our students or we have low expectations then that is what our students will give us. I think one of the most effective ways in making sure all students are being challenged is knowing your students and making the learning environment as comfortable as possible for them to truly feel comfortable in their productive struggle.
      My thoughts concerning Marzano's categories of our affective tone and academic content interactions is that I am guilty of only calling on those students who are actively involved in my class. It is usually always the same students participating in my lessons and while I have tried to involve all of my students in class discussions and my lessons I will have to try harder to involve and raise my expectations for my entire class.

    14. I agree with the author's statement "when we have high expectations, we treat students differently". There are going to be multiple different high expectations for each student in a classroom. The tough part is reaching out to each student, and making sure there are learning each and every day. I think relating lessons/concepts to the students' interests brings the most out of kids. This means that teachers need to know every student in their class on a personal level. It is easy for teachers to have high expectations when their students do as well. I think that students have high expectations when they are in a comfortable, safe, and engaging classroom setting. Making sure that there is always time for positive reinforcement for each student also creates high expectations for students.
      I agree with the thought that our actions reflect our expectations of our students. It is important for teachers as myself to be energetic and affectionate at all times. When students see that their teachers care for them, then their expectations within the class will grow larger. Eye contact and tone is two things I need to work on as a teacher. I catch myself asking the same students questions everyday because they look engaged. The biggest take away for me is the way I communicate with students whether it be body language, eye contact, or tone in the classroom.

    15. I tend to agree with the author's statement that when we have high expectations, we treat students differently. Every student in our classroom is a student with a different ability. It is our jobs as teacher to take that ability and help the student raise that ability to the best that the he or she can be. We have to also understand that the best for one students will not be the best for another student.

      Sometimes we subconsciously treat students differently based on their abilities. I think that we have to get to know our students on a personal level. We need to find out what makes that student tick so that we can come more relatable to that student. Some students are looking to us to raise that bar and give them reassurance that they can reach and even exceed that bar. As teachers, we have to be mindful of what we do(even subconsciously) or say because we possess the “ability” to make or break a child. What we do in the classrooms will have a lasting impact on each one of our students.

    16. I agree in certain areas to the authors statement. In sports I say, "Know your personnel". You must build a relationship with that person in order to fully understand what he/she is capable of. Once you have built that relationship, you are then able to provide them with expectations that you have of them. What should this look like? Expectations should be different on each level based upon the relationship you've built with that individual.

      Every action we show definitely shows our expectation of students. Remember, this isn't a "ONE EXPECTATION FITS ALL." So if we've built the relationship and know what and how to provide a certain level of expectation for certain individuals, it will all look differently. I would have to waiver a little bit in the chart of low expectations. I know I may have that student that's not performing on the level as the next, but I do not try to separate levels in my classroom. I do not try to make evident that the person knows less than the other. I try to keep non verbal cues the same and offer the opportunity for that student to match the performance level of others.

      My take away from the article will probably be more of a "CHECK YOURSELF MRS. LEBEAUX" at all times. Make sure you are giving equal opportunity at all times. This article has kind of made me think a little bit on how I exercise high expectations in my class.

    17. I also tend to agree with the authors statement about high expectations. Students can easily pick up on teachers that don't expect the best from their students. Unfortunately the expectations for some students may be different then those of others. So it is important to know the academic levels of all your students and hold them to perform at their highest levels.

      Our actions in our classrooms do affect our expectations. Students quickly understand if teachers expect the most out of them. Unfortunately, some students have a lack of interest or a desire to do well and will shut down when you challenge them.

      The most important thing about this article is to always expect the most from your students. Even though students have different learning abilities, teachers should expect each student to perform at their highest level.

    18. I agree with the author in that we should have high expectations for our students. If we do not believe in our students how can we expect the students to believe in themselves. I believe we need to have a more hands on approach to create a growth mindset. The students will benefit from our enthusiasm, and a growth mindset way of thinking will be contagious.
      That being said I think we need to know our students, and their skills. All students are not going to be on the same level. My job as an educator is to learn my students, and figure out how to help them grow. That what a growth mindset has got to start. We have to make sure that we make growth be obtainable. When on a diet you do not make a goal to lose 100 lbs. You make short term goals of 5-10 lbs. In sports we preach get better everyday. We need to do the same thing in our classrooms. We need to improve daily. We need growth daily by our students, and it starts with me as a teacher.

    19. I’ve always wanted to be that teacher all student felt comfortable with. I understand that’s not the case in most situation. I pride myself on making my classroom comfortable and allowing students to be who they truly are. The easy part for me is having eye contact with the kids , smiling, closing the distance between the student and myself. The challenge I face, is not always giving the lower end kids the toughest questions. I want the lower end kids to have self gratitude and succeed in my classroom. I try to direct them at times to lead them to the answer they know but may struggle with saying. Having high expectation without getting to know your kids can place you in a situation where some kids will get left behind. Our goal as a teacher is try to reach every kid that steps inside our classrooms. The reality is that, we may not do so

    20. I have the same expectations for all of my students. They might not master a standard at the same time, but they are still held accountable to meet each standard. What might take one student one day to learn, might take another student three days. Eventually, they all learn how to solve real-world problems using mathematics. I do want all to succeed in my class. We spend a lot of time analyzing and solving problems together whether in small groups or whole group. I am always walking near by to guide each group to a proper solution, giving praise as often as possible. Re-directing groups to develop a different method for solving a problem is difficult, but I do that several time a class period. My students hate that I always ask them guiding questions instead of giving an answer or the next correct step. But they must be in charge of their own learning. Those guiding questions really make them think critically. During these discussions, I often discover what mathematic content we need to revisit/review from the previous year. If most seem to lack previous knowledge, I will review at that moment and in the warm up on the next class period. We even make a list on the board for future review. My Pre-Calculus class loves to make a list and review for 45 min on Fridays. I walk to each group and assist those needing help with a smile. My biggest challenge is that I am not be able to make mathematics easy and enjoyable for each child. On the Algebra II w/ Trig and Pre-Calculus level, not much is easy or always enjoyable. Students have to have grit to perseverance to conquer many problems. Thinking critically is a skill one develops over a lifetime, not in one or two years. But we will practice, practice, practice. Hopefully, we will gain some knowledge by the end of the year. I still expect growth to occur.

    21. I expect all of my students to strive for success in my classroom. I understand that all students will learn at a different pace, so I try and teach different angles to reach everyone. At the end of the day all of the students are required to meet the same standards. I do little things like rewards students when they have success or give great effort to promote a healthy learning response. Students that struggle I use scaffolding techniques to catch them up and hopefully get them to a point that they can rely on themselves. To me the easy part is maintaining eye contact with my students, I feel like when I have eye contact the students are paying attention and engaged with discussion. I feel want all of my students to feel comfortable in my class, I want all of my students to participate and enjoy personal success. The problem I face is when some of my lower level students don't grasp the concept right away they tend to give up. I try to combat that with being very supportive, a smile on my face, and show them I am willing to work with them if they will put in the effort.

    22. I agree with the statement "when we have high expectations, we treat students differently," to some degree. For me, I go into the school year treating every student the same. Over time, I begin to realize which students are quicker to “catch on,” and feel they need more of a challenge with assignments. For the students that are slower to understand, I allow them more time and sometimes help them less. I think “I’m giving them more time, so I’ll spend my efforts helping the ones that are going to make the deadline.”

      I agree that our actions reflect our expectations. The hard pill to swallow is realizing that my own actions in the past have reflected low expectations for some students. I always begin a project with the same expectations for every student, at the beginning of the school year. As the year progresses, my actions do change for the struggling students. What I find happens often is when I am helping a struggling student one-on-one, I expect slower understanding, but usually am very surprised when I realize...they actually CAN get this! This has happened more times than I like to admit. And when I do realize they can get it, my expectations do change, but I wonder if my actions reflect that change?

      Marzano’s chart is actually helpful. I don’t enjoy reading it when I see in the list those actions I have taken with students for whom I have low expectations. But seeing these categories in a chart helps me to focus on changing them in the future, and changing my expectations.

      My most important “take away” is that I will pay more attention to my actions with students for whom I have low expectations. I believe it will be a struggle to change my actions for some students, but I feel it is important to apply the effort. I plan to have the charts close at hand as I’m working with struggling students. It’s time to closely analyze my own actions!