There was recently an article in The Huffinton post on “How to Help Black Youth”.
The article speaks to black youth specifically, but I think the idea is a universal one that applies to all educator-learner relationships.
Black inner-city youth are usually pegged as ‘at-risk’ and there have been debate on how to encourage them to become successful. This article talks about the key being just that. To encourage them. Or more specifically, have a higher expectation of them. There is a natural inclination to think that a certain person came from a certain lifestyle and thus we don’t really expect them to succeed. If this is perpetuated to that individual, of course they won’t believe they can succeed and will ultimately not try.
This is true for Black youth particularly, due to stereotypes around them, but this is also true for any child. Educators should ensure that each and every child they come in contact with is given high standards for themselves. Having faith in them encourages them to succeed. This should be done without comparisons, as we know certain youth learn and react in different ways, but also should be done globally without bias. We as educators should always take the time to encourage every learner and hold them accountable to the high expectations we know they are capable of.