Teachers Need to Have High Expectations for all of Their Students



It doesn’t matter if you have been warned about a student during a handover meeting or are aware of their reputation for misbehavior or lack of performance, your job as a teacher is to give that child the opportunity to start afresh.

Every child should see the beginning of a new school year as an opportunity to improve.  Some students only need to consolidate while others may need to make amends for recent poor habits.

As teachers we should have high expectations for all our students. If we set the bar low then there is no way the student can achieve to their potential. That does not mean we expect straights A’s for all, but rather, that each student works at their maximum and achieves to the best of their ability.

To read that some teachers modify their expectations due to superficial details like the spelling of a child’s name is both disappointing and quite preposterous:

Children who have unusual or oddly spelt names tend to fare worse in the classroom, academics have claimed. 

Teachers may subconsciously lower their expectations for pupils with names such as Destiny, Kayleegh and Chantal.

Alternatively, they tend to predict higher grades from students with traditional names – like Catherine or William.

This may suggest that teachers draw conclusions about pupils’ backgrounds on the basis of their names, according to The Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Meanwhile, what a child is called could also reflect their parents’ backgrounds and achievements. 

James Bruning, Professor of Psychology at Ohio University in America, told the supplement: ‘Clearly all of us use stereotypes about all sorts of things, and names are one of those things.

‘It is a first impression. If you only have a name as a guide then of course you make assumptions based on that.’

Mr Bruning said that if people were asked which of two students – Wa Wei Lee and Kahine Jefferson – was more likely to better at mathematics, most would opt for the Chinese pupil.

This decision would likely be based on an assumption that children of South-East Asian heritage are better with numbers, he said.

It comes as a study of two million children in Florida found that youngsters with traditional names were more likely to achieve higher grades in their end-of-year tests.


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One Response to “Teachers Need to Have High Expectations for all of Their Students”

  1. kedavis99 Says:

    I can’t believe that some teachers modify expectations based on the spelling of a child’s name. The only thing I worry about is pronouncing the name correctly because I want to give the child the respect of calling them by the right name.

    I always try to take anything a previous teacher says with a grain of salt, especially as it relates to behavior as teacher and student personalities don’t always mesh well. Even when it comes to performance I do my best to keep an open mind. I know I’m always infuriated when a parent says to a child at conferences “why can’t you be more like (big brother or sister)?” I would never assume a child can do or not do something based solely on the spelling of their name that may be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.

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