On Teacher Only Day (27 January) teachers were treated to a keynote address by Professor Christine Rubie-Davies from the University of Auckland on the subject of being a high expectation teacher. This was followed up by a workshop for the Leaders Group to explore the ideas more deeply.
Professor Rubie-Davies began by talking about the well recognised and well researched self-fulfilling prophecy effect. This relates to the idea that if an individual expects to fail or others expect them to fail, the likelihood is that they will. The reverse is also true of course: if there is an expectation that an individual will succeed there is a higher likelihood that they will experience success. This may seem obvious and like common sense; however it is a very important concept for educators to take seriously in that teachers’ expectations are formed by their beliefs, and sometimes these beliefs are self-informed rather than research-informed.
Rubie-Davies’ research in this area of high expectations points to many important practices of high expectations teachers, including having mixed ability classes and flexible groupings within classes, the importance of creating a positive classroom climate and the significance to the creation of high expectations of frequent classroom-based goal setting.
As a staff we are following up on Professor Rubie-Davies’ presentations in our weekly professional development sessions. Last week we worked on identifying the indicators of a high expectations culture within a school and discussed the systems we have in place to promote high expectations as well as potential barriers which might stand in the way of a high expectations culture at Hagley.