I read the quote by Jonathan Saphier and felt that his statement is exactly WHY teachers like us have book clubs. The fact is that WE have not given up. We ARE facing and looking at the obstacles and WE are coming together as a team to discuss solutions.

Many years ago I learned about Brian Cambourne and his Conditions of Learning as they applied to Literacy acquisition. For those who are unaware of his research, I have pasted his conditions below. However, I want to focus on Expectation. Cambourne says:
Expectation of those to whom learners are bonded are powerful coercers of behavior. “We achieve what we expect to achieve; We fail what we expect to fail; we are more likely to engage with demonstrations of those whom we regard as significant and who hold high expectations for us.”

Immersion: Infant and young children need to be surrounded by an environment that is rich in spoken and written language.
Demonstration: Children need opportunities to observe models of the way written language is used in daily life.
Engagement: Young children need opportunities to try reading and writing activates on their own.
Expectation: Children need to be in an environment where adults believe that they will acquire literacy skills. Use Children must use reading and writing skills throughout their daily lives.
Approximation: Young children should be free to make attempts at written language that move closer and closer to conventional reading and writing.
Response: Children need to receive feedback from knowledgeable people on their attempts a reading and writing.

We are powerful tools in the lives of children. I think Jackson makes a good point when she says that Mastery Teaching means understanding that expectations say more about our own sense of efficacy than they do about our student's abilities.

None of us can be experts in every area we teach. But we can rely on each other as mentors, helpers, and coaches to raise our understanding and expectations. I liked this Chapter MUCH more than 2!

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Replies to This Discussion

I agree that this chapter was more realistic than Chapter 2. The Stockdale Paradox says it all: Consider the reality of our students' lives in order to "live with" our expectations. At the same time, I find the recommendation to read Palmer's The Courage To Teach a sad commentary.
I'm not familiar with the Stockdale Paradox... but it surely makes a lot of sense!
I felt I was being preached to that I lost my way. Chapter 2 talks about my expectations and belief that I can if I belive that I can (simply put). I feel I do have expectations and that I can help my children make progress. I also agree that we need to rely on each other sometimes to raise our expectations and understanding but I do not agree with the statement "expectations say more about our own sense of efficacy than they do about our student's abilities".
My reaction to this chapter was that Dr. Jackson was discussing semantics more than teaching. Values vs. beliefs? Expectations vs. standards? Puh-lease. How Cris introduced this week's discussion was far more interesting and useful to me than most of this chapter.

The one example I could relate to was when she was talking to the math teacher who was feeling frustrated about her students being so far behind they would never catch up. I liked how she helped the woman to see that she could teach these students some algebra, but that she had to teach prerequisite skills first. I liked the way she seemed to turn"gripes into goals." As someone who had almost always taught those students with disabilities or low ability, I have always been insulted when I hear that students stay in special ed. due to the low expectations of their teachers. On the contrary, I always believed (valued?) special education. Leaving children to flounder in a large group while ignoring possible ways to help them learn would be having low expectations. But we also can't discount cognitive ability. If I were to take a quantum physics course from an MIT professor who has complete confidence in his teaching ability and knows that my cognitive ability is at least average (!), I don't know how much quantum physics I'm going to actually learn. Likewise, I don't think the authors of NCLB are realistic or FAIR to expect every child (except 1%) to have grade-level skills. That does not mean, however, that I'm not confident in my teaching abilities or in the ability of all students to learn.
Lisa, you are right on with the semantics issue. This chapter did, however, reinforce the idea of self-fulfilling prophecies. I believe that if a teacher has faith that a student will reach classroom goals/objectives, the student will begin to believe it also. We don't all have the same degree of faith each day depending on our energy level, outside distractions, etc,... but if a teacher remains consistently optimistic, then a child's self-esteem will benefit. I think children, no matter what age, can pick up even subtle degrees of frustration or disappointment in our voices and over a period of time will start to believe that they don't have the ablility or skills needed. The Stockdale Paradox claims that optimism could eventually create despair in some teachers if the students aren't reaching expectations. This would seem to be the time for that teacher to readjust their expectations based on a student's individual pace and needs. Lastly, I feel that raising expectations of yourself is not necessarily based on your values and beliefs, but also on "stamina"!
I think Cindy makes an interesting point about stamina, becuase it does take a certain amount of energy, determination, committment to teach with a positive attitude in today's classroom. I really like when Jackson talks about values and educational beliefs because it has made me think about what I think is important. When people say every child has the capacity to learn, I want a clearer definition of what that means. NCLB 's interpretation is that every child will be on grade level by 2014. I feel like a traitor when I question that reality. It's not that I'm noit willing to work towards that, but my experience and intuition tell me that that is not a realistic goal. I know education gives kids choices in life. And, that being able to read, comprehend and being able to interpret information is crucial to one' personal independence. That's why I liked Jackson's interpretation of the Pygmalion Effect because the focus was on what I can do to help my students achieve . And, that interpretation empowered me



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