MINORITY STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT – THE STRESSORS OF EXPECTATIONS
1 University of Houston - Clear Lake (UNITED STATES)
2 National Education Agency (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:There are a number of structural factors outside the school environment that affect student achievement such as the lack of family cultural capital (cultural resources provided by the family), issues of poverty, and home learning conditions (Barton, 2004). Mora (1998) states that structural factors may also include among other things: tracking or ability grouping of students, testing measures, pedagogy, and disciplinary practices. In other words, structural factors are variables in education that may negatively affect some students while benefiting others (Mora, 1998). There are other structural factors within the school environment that play a key role in how well minority students and other students achieve. One such factor is teacher expectations.
Teacher expectations are very powerful and can be influenced by a plethora of factors. Such factors as a student’s performance on a single standardized test or an innocent conversation in the teachers’ lounge (Sadker & Sadker, 2005) can subtlety dictate how a particular student will be taught that day. Teacher expectations can and do affect the motivation of students. It is the responsibility of educators to make sure that their expectations positively affect the academic achievement of all students. Therefore, teachers as socializing agents should be aware that the expectations that they have for students transcend the expectations that students have for themselves (Nieto & Bode, 2008; Persell, 2007).
The perceived inability of some students to learn in our public schools goes beyond “they are not trying, or they don’t care, or their parent(s) don’t care.” Where a child lives, how many parents are in the home, being part of a specific ethnic group, not being able to speak English well, residing in a group home, being transient, or being part of a specific family should not get in the way of educators’ expectations of those students. When these and other “isms” are factored into who will learn and who will not, all students and education, in general, suffers.
This article examines the stressors of teacher expectation and their effects on students’ abilities to perform at a certain rate, as well as, at a certain level. This article will also present a few ways in which to address the influence of teacher expectations on student learning. Teacher expectations can and do affect the motivation of students. As educators, it is our responsibility to make sure that this motivation positively affects student outcomes.
Barton, P. (2004). Why does the gap persist? Educational Leadership 62(3): 8-13.
Nieto, S., & Bode, P. (2008). Affirming diversity. The sociopolitical context of multicultural education. Boston: Pearson.
Mora, J. (1998). Cultural diversity in the B/CLAD classroom. [Online forum]. Retrieved from
Persell, C. (2007). Social class and educational equality. In J. Banks, & C. Banks (eds.), Multicultural education: Issues and
perspectives (pp. 87 - 107). New Jersey: Wiley & Sons.
Sadker, M, & D. Sadker (2005). Teachers, schools, and society (7th ed.). Boston:
Keywords: multicultural education, teacher expectations, minority students.