Differentiation: High expectations are not enough?


High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation.

Charles F. Kettering

Last night someone retweeted a tagline from a post I wrote earlier this year: “teach to the top, support at the bottom”. Inevitably perhaps, someone else took great exception to the word ‘support’ and asked why those at the bottom shouldn’t be taught. Why should they have to suffer support while everyone else got taught? 

I pointed out, somewhat flippantly, that saying, “Teach to the top, teach to the bottom” didn’t have the same ring to it and they countered with the suggestion: “Teach to the bottom, guide at the top.” But this, I’m afraid encapsulates much that is wrong with education. It’s all too easy to lower our expectations and give pupils easy things to do in a misguided effort to bolster self-esteem. And it’s tempting to consign able students to minimal guidance and often consists of poorly conceived ‘extension’ work. 

Read more on The Learning Spy

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