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Education, Students, Teaching

Convincing Kids That They Can

photo by Jeff Delp (jd24/7)

Recently, while sorting through a pile of papers, I ran across an article that I think deserves some consideration.  The Power of Expectations, by Neal Cross, is a brief, but insightful reminder about the connection between expectations and student achievement.  The article is not available online, so it will take some extra effort to read in full, but I believe it will be worth your time.

Cross, N. (2008, November 1). The Power of Expectations. Principal Leadership, 9(3), 24-28.

On previous occasions I have written about having high expectations for students, in combination with a high level of support.  Our actions as educators must go beyond simply stating our expectations, we must be certain that we provide the assistance necessary for students to achieve these expectations.  In his article, Cross emphasizes that in addition to academic supports, educators must be keenly aware of how our connections with students impact academic achievement.  Referencing the work of Jon Saphier and Robert Gower in their book The Skillful Teacher: Building your Teacher Skills, Cross summarizes three critical statements that teachers should consistently deliver to students:

  1. This is important.  Every effort should be made to add relevance to lessons and activities and emphasize why content and/or skills are critical.
  2. You can do it.  We must recognize that for many students, success is unfamiliar territory.  It is imperative that we make it clear that we believe that student success is inevitable.
  3. I won’t give up on you.  Not only do we need to explicitly let students know that we will not allow them to fail, we need to put words into action – working tirelessly to convince them that this is truth.

The article goes on to provide a number of suggestions for how teachers can express these statements of expectation and help students draw connections between their effort level and achievement.  Good advice, and definitely worth the read!

About azjd

Junior high principal by day, aspiring difference maker, and Jedi in my own mind. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly.


3 thoughts on “Convincing Kids That They Can

  1. This is vital, you are right. After reading “Mindset” by Carol S. Dweck, I stopped saying “good job!” and started saying “Way to go, I knew you could do it if you kept trying.” It takes more time, but I realize the value in helping kids understand that I am not going to give up on them, and they shouldn’t either. I’ve seen how it has helped them in many different ways.

    Posted by Jethro Jones | August 8, 2012, 9:53 am
  2. This is the way to show you care. As the saying goes, No one cares how much you know, til they know how much you care. Every student needs to feel as if they can, all should be challenged and feel they are up to the task. It’s part of teaching that isn’t in the manual or curriculum but is as important as any.

    Posted by Jared Fawson | August 8, 2012, 4:57 pm


  1. Pingback: | Close the Achievement Gap - August 25, 2012

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Jeff Delp

Junior high principal by day, sports enthusiast, technology fanatic and jedi in my own mind. Striving to be a difference maker!
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