News from the Head of School

High expectations

All of us are different, and we all learn in various ways. When it comes to finding best approaches to teaching and learning, differentiation is essential. To best meet the students’ needs we need to differentiate and find ways to challenge all students in a class so that each person find the tasks rewarding, become good enquirers and engage themselves with the given tasks. Experts in this field of study emphasize that it is vital to give students challenging tasks that are neither too easy nor too difficult. At ISH we try to find this balance in order to move students to the next level and we try to be careful not to give students tasks that are too difficult since that could make them loose interest. However, when it comes to setting expectations of achievement, both as teachers and as parents, these should be set as high as possible.

We have to teach our students/children to have high goals and to work hard to achieve these goals. This topic has been discussed for decades. I would like to give an example from John Hattie’s work in this regard. In “Visible Learning for Teachers,” Hattie elaborates on this concept by noting that “emphasizing accurate calibration [of students’ abilities and performance] is more effective than rewarding improved performance.” Further, having teachers/parents educate students/children to have “high, challenging, appropriate expectations is among the most powerful influence in enhancing student achievement.

Hattie has conducted a meta-analysis of thousands of schools and has ranked the most effective learning outcomes. It is interesting to note that out of 138 influences, “students own expectations” was ranked as number one. This is where you as parents come into the picture. If you emphasize to your children that they should have high expectations, they will raise the bar and set higher goals for themselves, which will result in better outcomes.

I would like to end by giving a concrete example from a study done by Khattab, N. “Students whose parents have expected them to gain higher education when they were in Year 9 (age 13-14) were over five times more likely to have actually applied for a university course at age 17-18 than students whose parents did not expect them to do so.”

I would like to wish you all a wonderful holiday and look forward to welcoming our students back from break.

Image credit: The Best Schools