How do kids achieve success?

How do kids achieve success? 

When I consult on cases for school districts, I often find that students who are failing have encountered one of two polarities: (a) People have given them too little support or (b) People have lowered their expectations of them.

It’s hard to wrap our minds around the idea of doing two things at once; simultaneously giving a student more support while at the same time expecting more. In order to do these together let’s look at both:

SUPPORT is helping a student grow. It’s not doing things for them, or letting them play on an ipad all day. Support is assistance that helps lead a student to action. It could be believing in them, encouraging, helping, building success, starting slower, etc.. Support is growth-oriented, not disability-focused.

EXPECTING MORE is not about demanding or raising expectations to where they are “hard.” People grow when challenged in the right ways. We show we expect more from students by the standards we hold, and the subtle messages we convey: how long we wait for an answer, who we ask the questions to, how patient we are in explaining and re-explaining, how overtly we recognize strengths, and how capable we are of seeing those in every student.

So as you are out there this first month of school remember; support does not mean lowering expectations AND…having expectations does not mean making people do things without support!

What are some ways you are supporting students while holding high expectations of them?

Comments (1)

I love this important distinction! We often talk about expectations for students (future-oriented) and expectations of students (realistic, where-they-are-right-now based). We can maintain high expectations for our students’ futures while accepting low expectations of where they are now. When we keep our expectations of them reasonably low, we avoid the frustration we experience if we think “they ought to know how to act.”

Leave a comment