A key to implementing high expectations in your classroom is to realize that “high expectations” is in fact something most teachers do, and not just believe (Hill, n.d.). Also, we found that what we believe is good for students might hinder students’ independence and weaken their ability to think. An example like in ancient schools methods of teaching, students asked to memorize everything regardless they do understand or do not, also with a hope the more thing for students to memorizing, then the more the thing the students can do the questions and hopefully to “succeed” in such terms and condition, therefore in that methods students will be stuffed with an amount of subject without an actually knowing on how to implement it because they do not understand what they have learned, except solving the question paper and meaningless grade, that giving them temporary happiness.
Nowadays, to find a better way of setting high expectations for students, we would like our students to be skillful and get acknowledgment in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics especially on their Critical Thinking, Analyzing, and Reliable Problem Solving, which is even though we know that won’t be an easy task and this could become a long term project that could happen with proper management and organizations. Therefore, if the skills and knowledge do not guarantee the best understanding, especially during the progress of people to gain skills and knowledge from nature, and reusing it again with good purposes in human daily life, then what would be the teaching process aim that can activate the holistic on effectiveness and efficiency to students that can put their learning and education to work.
With those two introduction paragraphs in this article, we would like to share some strategies that could be used in order to boost their focus on the learning within the work and the understanding among the knowledge and their concepts, which are:
1. Differentiate “Learning” from “Work”
The notion of work itself, historically speaking, is derived from the image of labor, which is passive and obligatory. Therefore, the activity called “work” cannot be separated from such a concept. Let me take an English class as an example. For example, copying English words over and over in a notebook is “work” or students are just “training their hand”. That is not learning. If they just memorize a passage in the textbook, no active learning occurs. Learning occurs when students think, create, and discover. They all come out from students, not assigned by the teacher.
2. Make learning a long-term research-thinking-centered process
“Teaching is less about what the teacher does than about what the teacher gets the students to do” (Perkins, D., Teaching for Understanding, p.8). A teacher needs to put a clear plan for all the possible concepts that had been studied during the whole year and assure that all students know each concept and are able to apply it in routine life, which can help students to be more engaged overtime on a variety of understanding different kinds of topics, “Such a long term, the thinking-centered process seems central to building student’s understanding” (Theodore, S., 1948). Also, it does not matter if we are high school teachers or kindergarten teachers, this strategy will help us to be more responsible about our student choices to become independent learners. Using this strategy will also help students to gain more knowledge and finding the link in terms of connection with the other topics that they learned.
3. Design lesson that homework as an optional
As Ms. Karen whom Ritchhart introduced in his book, some teachers too much focus on homework. In many cases, they are well-organized, they keep track of students’ participation and work very precisely. In work-oriented classrooms, teachers “monitor the work,” making sure everyone is on task and getting things done (Ritchhart, 2015). What we need to focus on is not whether the students are able to complete the assigned tasks, but whether they are experiencing learning on their own.
4. Provide clear assessment
It has been emphasized that students and teacher need feedback in some possible way that educator has to choose. The form of this possible feedback could be like an assigned task, or by doing some homework either by individual work or as group work, those work purposes to help teachers to know where their students are in their learning process as they need an opportunity to reflect their understanding at beginning of the year rather than at the end of the term, as Baron said in 1991, “To learn effectively, students need criteria, feedback, and opportunities for reflection from the beginning of any sequence of instruction”. In order to do so, then many reasonable approaches tools that could be used, like a pop quiz in which will help the teacher to know each student level, or homework which will give student a chance on revising and perhaps a bit of background for the next day discussion in which will be allowing student on sharing their point of views, as like been mentioned by Bloom, Madaus, & Hastings, 1981, also Stiggins, 2002 about, ”Teachers facilitate learning by providing students with important feedback on their learning progress and by helping them identify learning problems”, in order their assessment can be considered as the main source that can give an accurate reflection of concept and skills from what they learned.
5. Don’t make a judgment on how we evaluate students
If we want to create a better way of our teaching, then we can design the way we assess students. For example, once we want to evaluate student’s “work”, then we can evaluate their homework submissions. On the other hand, we could evaluate how many pages of English vocabulary they have written in their notebooks, or how many words they have memorized if the class is the English Language. However, if we want to assess “learning,” we need to assess the student’s performance. How they express themselves using the words they have learned, how they present themselves on a given topic, and so on.
6. We teach for sharing our knowledge
Recent studies show that majority of students do not carry or learn the knowledge that we shared, and most of the students learned in one context to another, and yet some of them fail to use mathematics facts during physics sessions or fail in applying English proper content in writing scientific reports. Therefore, for a better sharing knowledge among teacher and students, the best methods will show them an example on how each topic are connected, and give the student a guideline for implementing by using some diversity of knowledge in a different situation, has been mentioned by Perkins, D. on p.20 of Teaching for Understanding, “Teachers teaching for a full and rich understanding need to include understanding performances that reach well beyond the obvious and conventional boundaries of the topic.”
7. Never accept excuses with the purpose of deep learning
Never Accept Excuses is one of the best strategies, not only giving positive training on how to be disciplined, but also one of the passive strategies on applying the rules. Also, once we as a teacher permitting excuses then other excuses will come forward with it, even though some excuses may not so excuses. To help our students for avoiding the excuses, then during the class we try to build an environment that won’t bore them, especially if the class is in the very first in the morning, or in the very last in the day. To build such an environment, this is the 2nd strategy that can be applied indirectly by giving them a deep learning continuity, in form of education that can show them a purpose of the topic, not just a theoretical but also in the practical. An example, like in each of my sessions on high school teaching class, after I spent nearly 10 minutes introducing the topic, then I will try to let my students on doing some applications or questions for 15 minutes to let them know about it’s safe to make incorrectness (Tiffany Youtchoko, 2019), and lastly from what they listen in the beginning and they try in the session of application, now we do the demonstration on what’s they are calculating and they are measuring are practicable, with that, hopefully, the student not only has their enthusiasm on the topic keep up, also they could binding it to some other subject they learn during their study in the high school.
Among that the most important thing is to change the mindset of teachers. In terms, perhaps their students have very little time for learning. If all homework has become work, then it can be a little creative, for example instead of just writing words, students can write sentences using that word. With that, we hope learning will occur and it will be more fun. Meanwhile, if the tests are creative instead of memorizing knowledge, then students may look forward to the tests and actively participate in the class.
In the end, either strategy will only work on positive classroom management in terms of how we communicated them to our students. An example like Larry Bell has shown us in the story on how Larry giving a choice on support reasoning instead of just being angry to the students whose not doing the homework. Another example also like Alex Spiegel (2012) shown through Robert Pianta has shown even though for a purpose of never accepting excuses, and only the way on how we deliver the message in terms of communication that can be useful to support it. Therefore without a proper way to communicate then we won’t be able to deliver the message properly, even though sometimes military ways may work but not as effective as mother ways of delivering the message.
1. Bell, L. (2007). Creating a culture of high expectations for all students. Retrieved from https://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/columnists/bell/bell003.shtml
2. Hill, J. (n.d.). The power of high expectations: Closing the gap in your classroom. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20160413075718/http://teachingasleadership.org/sites/default/files/Related-Readings/DCA_Ch2_2011.pdf
3. Ritchhart, R. (2015). Creating cultures of thinking: The 8 forces we must master to truly transform our schools. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
4. Spiegel, A. (2012). Teacher’s expectations can influence how students perform. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2012/09/18/161159263/teachers-expectations-can-influence-how-students-perform [Accessed on March 09, 2021]
5. Youtchoko, T. (2019). 7 Powerful Tips for Creating a Culture of Learning in the Classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.ingredientsofoutliers.com/7-powerful-tips-for-creating-a-culture-of-learning-in-the-classroom/ [Accessed on March 11, 2021]