Expectations play a big part in student achievement and behaviour. There was a landmark study done by Rosenthal and Jacobson in 1968 which illustrated the power of expectations on students in the classroom.
This effect is amplified, apparently, in low-income neighbourhoods, which means students from disadvantaged backgrounds benefit most from high expectations from their teachers.
If you would like to read more about this subject then I have created links to several articles that talk about the subject and it’s close cousin the self fulfilling prophecy.
- The Power of Teacher Expectations – A good introduction by Alex Quigley talking about the different ways teacher expectations can affect student performance.
- How Do Teachers’ Expectations Affect Student Learning? – addresses specific questions about expectations based on a 1974 study by Robert Rosenthal.
Teachers’ Expectations Can influence How Students Perform – An interesting piece from NPR on the same subject which also addresses who teacher expectations can be changed. Turns out it’s not enough just to change your vocabulary.