WELLINGTON (Xinhua) – A study of more than 4,000 students in China has shown their success was influenced by the expectations of their teachers, a Chinese researcher working at a New Zealand university said recently.
University of Auckland education researcher Zheng Li came to her conclusion after following 4,617 students across 116 English language classes taught by 50 teachers at two universities in south China.
Zheng asked the teachers to complete surveys asking them to predict how good their students were going to be during the year, while the students were asked questions about classroom climate and their teacher’s style.
The teachers’ survey results were collated to show if they were a high, medium or low expectation teacher, and at the end of the teaching year the teachers’ results matched the success levels of their pupils.
“If a teacher held high expectations for one class, they appeared to hold similar expectations for other classes, and the results were the same for teachers who held low expectations,” Zheng said in a statement.
“This shows teacher expecta-tions are pervasive.”
Students with high-expectation teachers were also provided more frequent, more challenging and more rewarding learning opportunities and had a more friendly relationship with their teachers than students with low expectation teachers.
“Low expectation teachers didn’t have positive relationships with their students. They just believed the students couldn’t achieve well,” said Zheng.
“It seems to me that student learning is largely dependent on which teacher they happen to be placed with, because different teachers may lead to diverse learning experiences and outcomes.”