Many people have strong views on what works in the classroom and what doesn’t. And there is no consensus. In fact, it is worse than that; it would be possible to find someone ‘influential’ who endorses almost any practice a teacher might have a hunch is the way to do it. Or not. That’s the problem. I have previously speculated about what is the core to being a teacher; what are the key characteristics. I have been brought back to this by the current ongoing discussion about the place of knowledge and of skills in the curriculum.
The proponents of the preeminence of knowledge are (mostly) erudite and point to anecdotal evidence of success in the classroom. Likewise, most of the proponents of the preeminence of skills are (mostly) erudite and point to anecdotal evidence of success in the classroom. In the face of the absence of killer evidence, what are we to make of this? I am taken with the idea that high expectations of the students, and of what the education system should deliver, is the most important factor. But, the high expectations must be real, and actions expected to fulfil those high expectations must be consistently in place. The teachers must believe they can make an important difference, or some other part of the local system must believe this. (I also wonder if the ‘convinced’ party can be the student’s parents).
Just stating that there are ‘high expectations’ isn’t anywhere near enough. High expectations must be implemented. There must be Intention. What does Intention look like in a teacher?