Lisa Explains a Teaching Move That Helps Support High Expectations For All

Here Lisa articulates an important teaching move that is key in helping develop a cultural norm of expecting everyone to offer quality thinking. She says, "During discourse, if you ask a question of a child and he/she doesn't have an answer or makes a comment that is off target, instead of following your instinct to move to a new student and ask the same question of him or her to keep the pace going and to get the right information out into the class conversation, consider staying with the child with the faulty answer/thinking and scaffolding him or her through the work of doing quality thinking and thus offering a comment or answer that is accurate." The ultimate messages you send to that child and the rest of the community are key to developing a culture in which everyone holds high expectations of one another (and doesn't lower expectations or "write off" a struggling student).

Also, when faced with other students losing patience with a student who is working to understand something with your guidance during a group discussion, you will often see them blurting out or answering the question for the "struggling" student. We often say to those children, "Don't take this away from Mallory; do you think she can't understand this? That is what you are saying if you answer for her. You are saying you don't think she can do this. Don't take it away from her by shouting out while she is thinking." Again, this teaching move also sends a cultural message that is quite important: we value all voices and we expect everyone to contribute quality thinking.