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Reaching Higher: The Power of Expectations in Schooling

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ISBN-13: 978-0674016194
ISBN-10: 067401619X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The notion of a "self-fulfilling prophecy" is common parlance in education. Low expectations of students and corresponding differential treatment predictably produce low achievement or failure. Previous efforts (the "positive self-esteem" movement) and current attempts (high standards and testing) have both failed; Weinstein says it's because neither is ecological in scope. A psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Weinstein draws upon decades of research as well as her own extensive fieldwork in schools to make a persuasive case for more serious considerations of "expectancy theory" and its application to education. Her premise: classrooms becoming places where high achievement is expected for all isn't just a political platform but a reality. She reasonably states, however, that to effect such a transformation "would require a radical shift in the achievement culture of schools" and a rethinking of school policies, practices and classroom climate, not to mention existing theories of motivation, ability, disability, beliefs about how children learn and, importantly, the pervasive belief in the bell curve. Solving the problems of underachievement will necessarily involve parents, teachers, students, researchers, administrators and the wider society in changing our paradigm of achievement. Thinking ecologically about this issue is a tall order, but Weinstein addresses in painstaking detail just what it entails. This is an important book for everyone who believes in the historic promise of equal educational opportunity, and in the possibility that all children can reach their full learning potential.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Based on her own three decades of research into the self-fulfilling power of expectations, Weinstein (psychology, Berkeley) presents an analysis of our schools and outlines a practical approach to reform driven by both the head and the heart. She examines how expectations placed on children by their parents, teachers, and the students themselves are formed by and reinforce social constructs, and she demonstrates that the key to change rests in a shift in perceptual focus from the aggregate to the specific. Although a category of children may be shown by testing to fall into a certain stratum of expected competencies, each individual child does not. Undaunted by the complexities involved, Weinstein offers a systems approach that demands changes at every point of interaction: students, teachers, parents, administrators, teacher training faculty, and researchers. Implemented systemically across our nation's schools, her approach would move the next generation's educational experience into a new level of excellence, lift multiple barriers to learning, and thus change many of our existing, limiting social norms. Recommended for all academic and public libraries.
Jean Caspers, Linfield Coll. Lib., McMinnville, OR
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (September 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067401619X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674016194
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Arlene Rosenbloom on March 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Rhona Weinstein's book, "Reaching Higher: The Power of Expectations in Schooling", should be a mandatory reading requirement for all teachers .I have just finished this book and my head is reeling from its implications.It is extremely thought provoking and, in a way, disturbing, because the complacency of the "infallible" structure of the whole system of education is shaken to its very core. I absolutely agree with Rhona Weistein's self fulfilling prophecies and expectancy theory; I just never had a name to put to it before.I have seen so few teachers who can actually foster that tremendous sense of excitement and capability and possibility in teaching every child to strive to fulfill his/her potential. It is an amazing gift to really see the uniqueness of every child, and to truly believe that every child is capable of doing all that he/she wants; he just has to try and learn and develop and he will succeed. It is a tragedy when teachers cannot see past children like Adam's inability to spell and write in conventional manner; that they can be so blinded by poor spelling that they cannot appreciate the brilliance and the creativity of the ideas underneath. Is the goal of our education system to memorize a certain curriculum in a specified period of time, or to foster a sense of excitement for knowledge, to learn the skills to take a child and create a lifelong learner? What an exciting challenge and opportunity if our education system would embrace Rhona Weistein's theories, and create a new and better model for learning in all our schools. I wish more educators could think like Rhona Weinstein. The world would be a better place if that were so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maria Foster on November 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are serious about wanting to affect change as an educator, then read this book! I think it is a must read for all educators.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alana on August 29, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Even as a graduate student this was a very arduous read but it was worth it and I'm sure I will use it as a reference in my future papers and discussions about education. Very well written and laid out for educators, students and even parents.
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