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Teacher expectations & educational disadvantage

An examination of teacher expectations & their implications for disadvantaged Australian students, prepared as part of the EDUC107 course (UMq SID: 43183158)

Katrina Garner

on 3 June 2013

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Transcript of Teacher expectations & educational disadvantage

21st century teachers should have great expectations, irrespective of students' backgrounds The research Implications for teaching Self-reflection Avoid the pitfalls of expectations Some practical ideas Australia's educational gap Teachers' expectations significantly affect students Educational equity “An inspirational teacher can change the life of even the most disadvantaged student, and give them a chance to choose their own destiny.” Teach for Australia. Disadvantaged students have a higher likelihood of receiving low expectations from teachers based on their socio-economic status... which further contributes to their disadvantage. What's wrong with expectations? As a teacher, what are you basing your expectations on? Are you looking for success or anticipating failure? Australia's current education system has a high correlation between a child's socio-economic background and their educational outcomes Your ethnicity Your family's income Your parents' education Where you live Educational success is strongly correlated with Image source and more info at Statistics* show that poverty rates in Australia for people aged over 15 rapidly decline as educational qualifications increase *Senate Community Affairs References Committee (2004). Report on Poverty and Hardship. Australia: Senate Printing Unit

Image source: The Smith Family Australia Teachers' expectations have a significant impact on disadvantaged students For each extra year an individual attends school...
their wages increase by a worldwide average of 10%
they increase productivity of a nation like Australia by up to 6% Source: OECD (2003) cited in Business Council of Australia (2007) Restoring our Edge in Education: Making Australia's Education System its Next Competitive Advantage Data from the MySchool
website has shown that the social hierarchy
of schools is associated with a similar academic hierarchy, as illustrated in the graph below. Source: Research by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) places disadvantaged students two to three years behind their advantaged peers in reading skills. Left hand columns for each school group show average ICSEA [index of socio-educational advantage] comparative to average academic performance in NAPLAN [the national assessment program for literacy and numeracy] Read more on this: Teachers need to work towards: no matter what their background is. What are teacher expectations? High expectations from teachers can reduce school drop-out rates “Teacher’ expectations are inferences that teachers make about the future behaviour or academic achievement of their students, based on what they know about this student now” Good, T. & Brophy, J. (2003). Looking in classrooms (9th ed). Boston: Allyn & Bacon Research shows that Rosenthal & Fode's rats In 1963, Rosenthal and Fode gathered participants to train rats to run through a maze. They created two random groups: Group 1 were told they had specially-bred "bright" rats to train, while Group 2 were told they had "dull" rats. In reality, all the rats were standard lab rats.

The results found the "bright" rats had greater performance on average compared to the "dull" rats. The expectations of the rat-trainers correlated with rat-performance. Rosenthal, R. & Fode, K. (1963). The effect of experimenter bias on performance of the albino rat. Behavioral Science, 8, 183-189. Rosenthal & Jacobson's fake "bloomers" Rosenthal & Jacobson experimented to see if teacher expectations affected student performance. They conducted an IQ test in a school, after which teachers were given a list of students who had (supposedly) been identified to be entering a year in which they would "bloom" academically. In reality, the students on this list were randomly selected. At the end of the year, the IQ test was conducted once more. It found that the "bloomers" had greater improvement in their scores relative to their peers. The teachers' expectations had become a reality. Rosenthal, R. &. Jacobson, L. (1966). Teachers' expectancies: Determinants of pupils' IQ gains. Psychological Reports, 19, 115-118. How can a teacher's expectations become a reality? This process is referred to as a 'self-fulfilling prophecy' or the 'Pygmalion effect' Merton, R. (1948). The self-fulfilling prophecy. The Antioch Review, 8:2, 193-210
Rosenthal, R. & Jacobson, L. (1968). Pygmalion in the classroom: Teacher expectation and pupils’ intellectual development. So what do teachers base their expectations on? Gender Teachers are more likely to have great expectations for female students compared to male students Physical attractiveness Teachers' expectations are subconsciously influenced by students' appearances, with lower expectations for less attractive students compared to their more attractive peers. Academic performance and intellectual ability However, these are far from the sole determiners of teachers' expectations Clifton, R., Perry, R., Parsonson, K. & Hryniuk, S. (1986). Effects of ethnicity and sex on teachers’ expectations of junior high school students. Sociology of Education, 59, 58-67. Ethnicity and teachers' ability to judge academic performance and intellectual ability are not always accurate! Ethnic background has a significant impact on teachers' expectations. Unfortunately, teachers are not colour blind when forming expectations. For example: McKown & Weinstein's study of ethnicity & teacher expectations in the US McKown, C. & Weinstein, R. (2008). Teacher expectations, classroom context and the achievement gap. Journal of School Psychology, 46:3, 235-261. "In ethnically diverse classrooms where students reported high levels of differential teacher treatment towards high and low achieving students, teacher expectations of European American and Asian American students were between .75 and 1.00 standard deviations higher than teacher expectations of African American and Latino students with similar records of achievement." Numerous other factors also influence teacher expectations Dale, H. & Slatin, G (1975). The Relationship Between Child's SES and Teacher Expectations: A Test of the Middle-Class Bias Hypothesis. Social Forces (University of North Carolina Press), 54:1, 140-159
Cooper, H. & Moore, C. (1995) Teenage Motherhood, Mother-Only Households, and Teacher Expectations. Journal of Experimental Education, 63:3, 231-248
Gottfredson, D., Birdseye, A., Gottfredson, G. & Marciniak, E. (1995). Increasing teacher expectations for student achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 88:3, 155-164 Rosenthal's four-factor theory of how expectations affect teacher behaviour 1. Climate Expectations alter the socio-emotional climate of the classroom, e.g. the teacher's facial expressions and body language 2. Input Teacher expectations affect their level of input, for example:
The difficulty, variety and amount of learning materials
The amount of teacher interaction 3. Output Teachers' expectations affect output, for example:
the amount of instructional time with students
the "wait time" - the time given for students to respond
the degree of scaffolding providing
the level of detail and accuracy required to receive praise 4. Feedback Teacher expectations affect feedback, for example:
The level of detail and quality of the feedback
The emotive response in the feedback - praise, criticism, pity, anger, etc. "There is significant evidence to support that teacher expectations do have a powerful affect on students from stigmatised and disadvantaged social groups" Jessim, L. & Harber, K. (2005). Teacher expectations and self-fulfilling prophecies: knowns, unknowns, resolved and unresolved controversies. Personality and Social Psychological Review, 9:2, 131-155

Image source: The Smith Family Teachers' expectations can increase or decrease the gap Chris Sarra on the importance of teacher expectations A teachers' expectations directly influence their actions.
This occurs at a class level and on an individual level. Teachers with higher expectations of the class as a whole: create a more positive learning environment
better manage student behaviour
provide clear orientation for students, linking lessons to prior knowledge
ask more higher-order and open questions
provide increased levels of feedback
have more positive student-teacher relationships Rubie-Davies, C. (2007). Classroom interactions: Exploring the practices of high and low expectation teachers. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 77, 289- 306. Research shows the following factors are responsible for differences in teachers' expectations and students' actual performance... Gottfredson, D., Birdseye, A., Gottfredson, G. & Marciniak, E. (1995). Increasing teacher expectations for student achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 88:3, 155-164 Students for whom teachers have low expectations are: Gottfredson, D., Birdseye, A., Gottfredson, G. & Marciniak, E. (1995). Increasing teacher expectations for student achievement. Journal of Educational Research, 88:3, 155-164a given insincere praise
given less wait time
given less scaffolding
given fewer public and more private interactions
less likely to develop beliefs in the value of effort
held to lower standards Hang on! Is that really the teacher's fault? Maybe those kids were bad eggs... All students have potential ... are you sending some students down the wrong learning path by setting low expectations? Remember... But keep in mind, many of the issues in expectation are subconscious.... So ask a peer to observe you and give you feedback Or film a couple of your classes from the back to share your students' experiences of your teaching Some good questions to ask yourself are.... Do I mentally label students?
Am I rigid or flexible in my beliefs regarding students?
Do I group students on ability or interests?
Do I really believe all students have the ability to learn? 1. Be flexible Avoid rigid labels of children
Suspend judgement - focus on getting to know students
Let children prove you wrong 2. Provide warmth and support High expectations on their own can be very harsh and have students constantly falling short. 3. Celebrate individuality Each student is an individual, with their own strengths.

Value each student as a unique human. High expectations of one student may differ from those for another ... the important thing is to seek accuracy in assessments of students' current academic levels and combine this with a confidence in their ability to improve Your expectations give students the confidence to achieve or by ethnicity, or by socio-educational status,
or by gender, etc De-identify students' work when marking
e.g. using student numbers instead of names Randomise who you ask questions... e.g. write each student's name on a paddle-pop stick and place in a jar to randomly pull out Take care with streaming Academic streaming can be particularly damaging for the self-esteem and confidence of lower-achieving students.

Does this activity or lesson really require streaming?

Could you instead group students
by common interests? Get involved! There are some fantastic organisations working on improving educational equity in Australia... Closing the gap helping indigenous Australian's get equal opportunities in education The Smith Family seeks to break the cycle of disadvantage through education Teach for Australia is a social movement working to confront educational disadvantage in Australia Image source: The Smith Family
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