HIGH TEACHERS’ EXPECTATIONS & YOUR STUDENTS


I undertook a GOOGLE SEARCH ON the topic of TESA [Teacher Expectations/ Student Achievement this past week. I was disappointed that there were only about 225 articles. The topic really needs to be reviewed and researched more.

TESA has fallen out of fashion–but is still so important to consider when looking into INSTITUTIONAL or ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE IN EDUCATION ANYWHERE.

I recommend teachers and researchers reflect on THE RELATIONSHIPS OF EXPECTATIONS in the classroom, in testing, and in curriculum development ARE.

FROM THE CONTEXT OF TESA
TESA or the “Teacher Expectations/Student Achievment” movement and classroom evaluation-criteria used and developed in the 1960S, 1970S, and 1980s was based on the results of research and witnessed observations of lifelong instructors and administrators that demonstrated that to a great degree: If a teacher modeled good student/teacher relations and set higher standards or higher targets for his class of students , he would over the semester find his students slowly increasing their own expectations and levels of achievement. In contrast, a teacher who had low expectations for his student and set lower targets for them would find his students might very well achieve everyone of those low targets but seldom achieve beyond that level. Meanwhile, students self-expectations for their future generally remained low.
In short, a time-after-time, it has been observed that over time any particular teacher ‘s levels of expectations for his or her students generally has an effected student’s eventual achievements in class and later in their academic careers. This same observation has been made regardless as to the subject area being taught. In short, this observation has been rule whether a student or group of students was in (1) a technical institute , (b) an academic high school, (c) a low level high school, (d) a university, (e) a special education program, or (f) in a corporate trainee program.

MY BACKGROUND AND TRAINING AS A TESA EVALUATOR

I should note that my background in teaching is based in TESA and in other movements related to educational reforms of the past 5 decades. Originally, I was trained to teach regular and remedial students in a troubled inner city high school in Kansas City through the Cooperative Urban Teacher Educational (CUTE) Program in 1985. That CUTE program had been part of a much longer project established in a variety of inner city schools in the USA from 1968 onwards to help teachers working in environments where standards, expectations, and student achievement had historically been low. The following year, though, I went abroad to hone my teaching skills.
After a 4 year-long Hiatus, in 1990, I returned to the USA from Germany where I had taught both regular English and ESP (English for Special Purposes) in university and adult education. In 1990, back in my home state of Kansas, I was hired, however, to teach German—not English.
That first year back in the USA (1990-1991), I was observed no less than 20 times by experts in TESA and by several colleagues taking teacher training (as part of a regional project) in the Great Bend, Kansas School district. During this same period, I observed other teachers on at least 12 occasions using the TESA criteria.
I was the only first year teacher at Great Bend invited to take part in the project and training that year. I was invited specifically because after one or two observations of my classroom, my high school principal stated, “You seem to implement the TESA principles naturally. This special class from Ft. Hays State University should be a breeze for you—and others can benefit.”
Sadly, over the past two decades, I have seldom been asked to evaluate instructors or colleagues in any of the programs where I have worked. However, on the few occasions when I have been asked to give teachers and colleagues such observations and feedback, I have always opted to include some of the TESA behavioral principals when providing any of these observed-instructors feedback.
The instructors I have worked with have always appreciated the insights into their own classroom behaviors that can be provided through the lenses of TESA analysis.
Below is an example of how one teacher (me) might be evaluated in a way that encourages him or her to hold out for and implement class curricula with high standards and targets—even when working with demoralized groups of students or students in a system which has previously been satisfied with low standards.
LOOKING AT THREE CRITERIA OF TEACHER CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR
Example: the observed– Kevin A. Stoda, instructor at a low level technical college’s remedial English program for non-native speakers

TESA Criteria of observation (1): Does teacher call on all students regardless of whether he expects them to be able to answer the question or not? OR does he only resort to involving the same-old self-motivated students all of the time?
The official class list shows 26 students. At 1:01pm the instructor punctually begins the lesson by writing on the whiteboard the page numbers to be covered and indicated orally that there were two topics and sets of materials to be covered that day.
Over the next 10 to 20 minutes, numerous other students walk in late. Despite these disruptions, the instructor involves the new students who have arrived late in either chit chat about themselves –and he involves them by asking them to open their books and take note books.
In addition, the newly arrived students are eventually asked an on-topic question right-out-of the textbook or explicitly about the note-taking that they were being asked to undertake as late-arrivals.
By consistently referring to the class role-chart (and retaking roll several times by calling on students from the list while re-ticking their names in the attendance column), the instructor eventually calls on every single one of the 20 or so students who eventually has arrived during that particular class period.
In the same period, many students are called on more than once—and most often they are called on by name.

TESA Criteria of Observation (2a): Does teacher get up and walk around the room? Or does he stay seated or at the front of the room all class period?
TESA Criteria of Observation (2b): How does teacher respond to what he sees of his student’s work while moving around the classroom?

The teacher constantly moves around the class classroom—while often returning to the board to write on it, (especially as during his early rounds of the classroom—i.e. while he was moving slowly from student to student—he had observed that there is a tremendous need to help students to learn to take notes—as most college students are expected to do).
Originally only about 1 in 20 students have their notebooks out, i.e. and are taking notes on what is being shared and discussed.
Seizing this moment as an “important teaching or learning moment”, the instructor decides after 10 minutes of class-time to abort for the time being Part 2 of the day’s lesson plan in lieu of to help the students meet the important long-term expectation that they, as college students, need practice or learn to undertake note-taking skills of their own–in any classroom setting—even a listening class or a speaking class.
Hence, the teacher immediately refers the entire class to the student’s previous days’ (first attempt at) two-column note-taking which had involved a lecture (audio track) from the textbook, pp.13-14.
Over the entire 50 minute period, the instructor is observed constantly ping-ponging back and forth between the front of the classroom and back to visit individual students and groups of students who occasionally share note-taking ideas on the 5 discussion questions, which had been designed as Part 1 of that days lesson.
At the end of 50-minute class the teacher asks all students to hand in their notebooks (that day’s notes) for his checking–and in order to give them feedback.
NOTE: In this way, the hopes to more systematically find out which students have not learned at all yet how to put discussion points on to paper.
TESA Criteria of Observation (3): Does teacher walk up to (or along side) a majority of students to observe and comment or question them about what they are writing, thinking, or discussing–regardless of whether he expects them to be able to do the work on their own or not? or does he only resort to involving himself with one or two same-old individuals for most of these student-teacher interactions?
Instructor was observed talking to students as individuals or in groups in each and every corner of the room–regardless as to whether they were male or female, or whether they were considered strong or weak in English or in not-taking.
Teacher bent down often or squatted down next to the students on many occasions to look over students ‘work , to ask-or-answer questions , and to make suggestions–or simply to make an encouraging comment.

THE BOTTOM LINE
Teachers around the world are BEING encouraged to have input in the evaluations they give their students, and they in turn need to be encouraged to take the bull-by-the horns and see that they, themselves, have input into how they are evaluated.

I fully believe that common visions of organizational change and evolution need to include an understanding of TEACHER and STUDENT expectations. I hope that in the future TESA principles can be included in student counseling, advising and administrative policy implementations and practices.

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About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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