Teacher Expectations and Education

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Teacher Expectations and Education One thing I’ve learned this year is that teachers must always strive to adapt to the wide range of individual student abilities, learning styles, and interests even within a single class, but still maintain reasonable expectations, especially if tracking is present in the school. Through my observations, it seems that teacher expectations for students became increasingly lower with each "track." Furthermore, minority, low socioeconomic status and learning support students most frequently appear, in the lower tracks. The low expectations in these classes may be reflected in the students as they leave the school and attempt to function in society. Research by NCTE suggests that ability tracking is detrimental to some groups of students and to many individual students. I will be exploring how low expectations may cause inappropriate behaviors, lack of interest in subject matter, and resistance to learning and how tracking exacerbates these problems. I think it is important, as I discuss expectations in different tracks, to show the composition of students that make up each of the classes that I observed and taught, as it appears that minority, low SES, and learning support students tend to make up the lower tracks. I remember feeling; both shock and surprise when I learned that State College still practices a form of tracking, but Regular, College Prep, and Advanced English seemed pretty harmless at first. The distinct difference between the curriculum and "types" of students from level to level, particularly from Regular to College Prep is what soon began to catch my interest. I should first point out that in the 9th and 10th grades there are only two tracks, Regular and Advanced. Juniors ... ... middle of paper ... ... artwork.” I truly believe (and I’m sure this will be worked out of me at some point) that the moment a teacher says or even thinks that a student is incapable of some task, that is the moment that the student becomes incapable. So what’s the solution to being sensitive to student needs, yet not single them out, labeling, or lowering expectations? Maybe the CTI has some value. Why not simply have two tracks, Regular/College Prep and Advanced (as researched by The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented Learner does show that gifted students benefit from tracking) but keep the CTI model of two teachers collaborating in some way and smaller class sizes? With fewer students, teachers would have more time to give individualized help without labeling or segregating certain students and it is less likely that expectations would be lowered unnecessarily.

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