New York University research studies have proven that the expectations of the teachers were carried out in a profound way. The children in the study were given an achievement test, and the students, who had a wide range of scores on the tests, were randomly assigned to two teachers.
One teacher was informed that all her students had the highest scores on the test, the other was told his students had the lowest scores on the test.
Even though the students were randomly assigned, they actually performed according to the teachers' expectations.
The teacher who thought she had all the high scoring students had them performing at high levels of achievement, while the teacher who thought the students in his class were the ones with low test scores, found that his students performed poorly in his class.
After revealing this information to the teachers, they began to see that their thoughts and expectations did make a difference. If we think Johnny is going to be a loser, or that Suzy is going to flake out, or some child is incapable of concentrating on his work, it's going to be exactly as predicted. Why? Because our thoughts and feelings carry tremendous "energy in motion," and our beliefs cause us to act in accordance with the expected outcome. Children are strongly affected by the energy of your expectations.
A Stanford University study showed measurable and dramatic acceleration in reading speed and comprehension when they renamed the Remedial Reading Room to Accelerated Reading Room for the school year.
To let children and adolescents know that you believe in them and expect their very (age appropriate) best, tell them repeatedly, using affirmative language, what's great about them. Tell them that you believe in them. Communicate your expectations clearly and slowly, then ask the child to repeat them back to you.
Teach them ways to replace undesirable behavior and to manage their pain, fear and frustrations. Role-playing in private for just a few minutes gives them the skill they need to feel and do better.
In dealing with chronic behaviors, minimize both your attention to them and the importance of these unproductive behaviors. Make a conscious decision to increase your attention and give acknowledgment for preferred behaviors as they are occurring, until the new behavior becomes the norm. Then simply and consistently attend and acknowledge.
Excerpt from Make A Difference with the Power of Connection
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Mary Robinson Reynolds.
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