Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Power of Expectations

Have you ever listened to This American Life or Radiolab? These are two of my all-time favorite radio shows - and now podcasts. I listen to them while I am working (alone - not while I have kids in the classroom). I constantly learn something new and I am totally blown away.

Well, two of the producers from these shows have started their own show called, Invisibilia. Right now there are only two shows done, but they are both amazing. As in a-ma-zing!

As a preview to their show they actually did a show that aired on This American Life just last week. It was called "Batman". It too, is a-ma-zing!

The show is all about expectations. It turns out that our expectations of a person (or an animal) affects how that person (or animal) performs. You have to listen to the show to get the whole story, but basically if you think a rat will run a maze faster... he will. A lot faster than if you don't think he can do it.

This is not an opinion or an idea - this is a fact.

And it is also true for teachers and their students.

Now, I like to say that I have always believed that my students are all capable of great things. It is actually something I pride myself on, but it isn't true. There have been a few kids that I have put into the "Yeah, you could succeed, but..." category. Not intentionally. Not because I didn't like the kid. But deep down, I don't think I had as much faith in these kids. More often than not... they lived up (or down) to my expectations.

Did I cause this?

Scientists would say... yes.


So, what I am focusing on for the rest of this year is treating every kid like they are the smartest kid in my class. 100% believing that every kid is special and capable of achieving great things. This shouldn't be too hard because it is true. Every child is a miracle to someone. Every child can do great things. Especially when they are expected to.

I will let you know how this goal goes and update you on how my kids are living up to these high expectations!

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