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A Model for Urban Student Engagement and Achievement
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Strategy 2:

RIGOROUS AND REWARDING EXPECTATIONS fOR TEACHERS AND STUDENTS

 

Rigorous expectations can also be called high expectations. In sports, the greatest coaches have goals for their teams.  The coach of a losing basketball team may say that his team’s goal is to make the playoffs the following year.  In business, a CEO’s goal may be that the business increases its profits by 40% the next year. The C.R.E.A.T.E. model is based on the tenet that the most important expectations begin with the teacher. 

RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR TEACHERS:
A)  Personal Goal for Teacher in Accomplishing Student Learning (Objective)
“I WILL GET AT LEAST 70% OF MY STUDENTS
TO REACH BASIC OR ABOVE ON STANDARDS ASSESSMENT”
- You
 
RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR TEACHER:
B) Confront Student data on Learning
“I GOT ONLY 10% OF MY STUDENTS TO REACH BASIC OR ABOVE” 
- You
 
RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR TEACHER:
C) Take Responsibility for Student Failure
“ONLY 10% OF MY STUDENTS ARE BASIC OR ABOVE!  I HAVE FAILED MY STUDENTS!”
- You
 
RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR TEACHER:
D)  Courage to Change Your Ways so Kids
Reach the Goal
“I WILL CHANGE SO AT LEAST 70%
STUDENTS MAKE BASIC OR ABOVE”
“IF YOU FAIL, I FAIL”
- You
 
 
RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS:
A)  Pygmalion Effect - Expect High and Students Will Rise

Once the teacher decides on the objective goal for the class, he or she must convince the students that they can accomplish the goal.  He or she must brainwash them or make them internalize the notion that they will accomplish the goal. The C.R.E.A.T.E. model believes in the Pygmalion effect (Rosenthal, 1992) which states that students who are told to believe something repeatedly will eventually accept and live out that ideal. Therefore, brainwash your kids to believe them passing the state exam for chemistry or passing the CAHSEE exam in mathematics.

“Children respond to the
expectations of their environment!”
- Tauber, 1998

1.Give Students a Challenging but Attainable Goal to Shoot For:

“YOU WILL PASS CAHSEE”
“YOU WILL GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL”
“YOU WILL GO TO A 4 YEAR COLLEGE.”

2. Make Them Internalize Their Achieving That Goal

“I WILL PASS THE CAHSEE!”
“I WILL BE PROFICIENT IN MATH”
 
RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS:
B)  Create an Environment Where it is Easy to Focus - Seating for Success
- Don’t Allow One or Two Difficult Students To Run Class.
- Don’t allow people to sit with their friends.
- Don’t allow talking, especially over the teacher
- Don’t let anyone to fall asleep
- Make students sit where they will not be distracted and CAN focus.

The C.R.E.A.T.E. model is based on the premise that the classroom must have a rigorous learning climate.  The teacher cannot allow a few kids to run the class.  In every inner-city school I have attended or worked in, there are usually only 2-4 kids in one class who will really be defiant and not try to learn or they won’t attend class. 

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i) Develop a Positive Relationship with Challenging Students - Be Like a Mentor

“Interaction between teachers and students
is the most important factor in
student motivation and involvement”
- Tiberius and Tipping, 1990

The teacher must develop relationships with the most difficult students and try to make them positive leaders for the class.  Talk to those students on an individual basis and find out what is bothering those students.  Use lunchtime or afterschool to have a conversation with them.  If the teacher tries his or her very best to form a relationship of trust with those few students and still those few kids do not comply then the teacher must focus on damage control. 

The bottom line is to reach the entire class.  You cannot sacrifice 25 kids in order to save two.  If building a relationship with a challenging student does not work after several attempts then you must use the parents, coaches, counselors, and attendance and behavior specialist.  On extremely rare situations, the most appropriate action might be to keep the disruptive student out of your classroom until you have found a way to actively engage that student.

“One in 10 children suffer from emotional challenges ranging from depression to schizophrenia.
Less than one out of three will find help”
- Surgeon General

ii) Seating for Success

The teacher cannot allow the other 25 students to suffer at the hands of 3 kids.  In order to create a classroom of rigorous learning in urban classrooms, a seating chart really can help.  The C.R.E.A.T.E. model stresses that a seating chart where kids seat away from their friends or distractions is imperative. 

RIGOROUS EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS:
C) Call Parents, Coaches ANYONE Important
Use Your Phone

I also use parents as an important ally in the effort to reach the target population.  Sometimes, the parent, coach, or guardian can be the most significant person in the student’s life.  If the student wastes time and doesn’t finish the exit price, I will call their parent, their basketball coach, their grandma and demand that they stay after school to finish their work.  I am hard on them. They will test me.  I will within the first few weeks, catch them not finishing their exit price.

A student might miss football practice because I called his coach and kept him after school for not finishing the exit price.  Once they see that I am “not playin’” they will work hard almost every day. It is often more effective to use the parent than the principal to help a student reform his or her own behavior. 

My best friend has been my Metro PCS phone.  I have all the parents of my target population on speed dial.  The students know that if they don’t finish their exit price, I will be on the phone the same day calling their basketball coach or grandma.  On several occasions, I have had coaches present in the class to help their players focus.

   
REWARD SUCCESS:
D) Positive Reinforcement “Incentives”
While it is important to have a rigorous expectation and climate for students, it is also important to reward students.  Positive reinforcement motivates students to do what is right and to continue doing what is right. I use participation points on the board as a reward. The reward must be frequent, public and personal.  The individual student, especially the target population must feel rewarded or recognized.
REWARD,  REWARD,  REWARD!!!

A student who walks into my class will see 26 kids’ hands up in the air begging to be called on.  As a result, even students who are used to failure suddenly rise to the expectations of their environment and began raising their hand as well.  Students are motivated in my class because I make math seem easy so they feel like they can succeed. The feeling of success breeds more success. Also, there is a tangible reward system I use to recognize student excellence.  When students walk in, they immediately see a scoreboard.  During my “lecture” I frequently assess +student learning by randomly calling on all students and having them do problems on the board. Every response in class is rewarded with points on the board. Every time students participate or display good character, they immediately receive points to their overall score on the scoreboard that affect their grade.  Students want to stay on task and try their best because they know everything they do is immediately valued on the scoreboard. It is visible and personal.  I occasionally use treats such as candy or Oreo cookies as prizes as well.  Rewarding students doesn’t have to involve money though. It could be participation points or public praise.  It could be calling parents and saying positive compliments about the students.  The C.R.E.A.T.E. model highly values rewarding students frequently, personally, and visibly.  The culture of excellence spreads and it becomes “cool” to learn. 

How to Reward Learning on a Daily Basis:

1. REWARD LEARNING
STEP BY STEP
FREQUENTLY
USING PARTICIPATION POINTS, TREATS, ETC.

USE EVERY STEP OF A CONCEPT TO GIVE THEM A CHANCE
TO FEEL LIKE A HERO FOR LEARNING.
2. PERSONALLY REWARD
TARGET POPULATION
UNTIL THE CLASS
CULTURE BECOMES LEARNING
EXAMPLE:
“DANTE, WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP FOR 3 PARTICIPATION PTS TO YOUR GRADE?”
“FATIMA, DO THOSE 3 PROBLEMS FOR 10 EXTRA PTS AND A HOMEWORK PASS”

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