ACSI Vol 17.3 : Page 16

Fence Four: High Expectations Another part of a teacher’s responsibility is to demon-strate belief that all students are capable of learning and achieving. All teachers function out of a personal belief system that is tacit and often supported by uncon-sciously held assumptions about students, classrooms, and academic material. As a result, the instructional choices they make and the classroom environment they create stem from those beliefs and expectations. Students who perceive teachers as creating a caring, well-structured learning environment in which expecta-tions are high, clear, and fair are more likely to excel at higher levels. Dona Kagan identifies teacher behaviors that dem-onstrate high expectations for all students as (a) using praise rather than criticism, (b) persisting with low-achieving students and accepting them, (c) experiment-ing with new curriculum and materials, and (d) changing instructional strategies (1992). These types of behaviors have been found to directly make an impact on student achievement levels and result in students believing in their own ability to excel. Finally, there comes a time when the teacher’s atten-tion must be given actual instruction, but not before purposely fencing in the learning environment with a strong beginning, consistent procedures, positive student-teacher relationships, and high expectations. Once the purpose-driven teacher erects these vital fences around the rich, fertile ground where the seeds of learning are planted, learning will flourish without the weeds of disorganization, chaos, and disrespect. The true joy of the Lord’s calling to teach can now be experienced within these four key protective fences. References Brophy, Jere, and Good, Thomas L. 1984. Teacher behavior and student achievement. In Handbook of research on teach-ing , 3rd ed, ed. Merlin C. Wittrock. New York: MacMillan. Darling-Hammond, Linda. 2004. What happens to a dream deferred? The continuing quest for equal educational opportunity. In Handbook of research on multicultural education , 2nd ed., ed. James A. Banks and Cherry A. McGee Banks, 607–630. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Kagan, Dona M. 1992. Implication of research on teacher belief. Educational Psychologist 27, no. 1:65–90. Marzano, Robert J., Jana S. Marzano, and Debra Pickering. 2003. Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher. Alexandria, VA: ASCD Maxwell, John C. 2004. Today matters: 12 daily practices to guarantee tomorrow’s success . New York: Center Street. Morrish, Ronald G. 2003. With all due respect: Keys for building effective school discipline . Colorado Springs, CO: Purposeful Design Susan Alford, PhD, is the chair of the Teacher Education Department at Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska. Dr. Alford was a special education teacher before joining the faculty at Grace University. Her current area of research is in the field of curriculum and instruction for English language learners. She has taught and administrated for 35 years, and she enjoys speaking and writing about instructional improvement and teacher preparation. Dr. Michelle Lundgren, EdD, is a professor, certification officer, and Graduate Program director in the Teacher Education Department of Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska. Formerly a superintendent, Dr. Lundgren taught and administrated in a K–12 Christian school for many years. She speaks and writes on issues related to education, teacher preparation, and parenting, and she leads the women’s ministry at her church. 16 2013/2014 . cse Volume 17 Number 3 . Purpose-Driven Instruction: Building Fences

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