Of Text Complexity, Expectations, and Rodents

“Do you believe that the private thoughts that you have in your head can influence how a rat moves through space?”

To reword their question just slightly, “Do we believe that the private thoughts that we have in our heads can influence how a student responds to challenge?”

As we work with educators around the country in curriculum institutes teachers consistently comment on the complexity and heightened degree of difficulty in the texts. They are sometimes even reluctant to use the texts with their students, fearing that the challenge will be too great.

We encourage them, “Give it a try. Give them a chance. You might be surprised.” We know this because we consistently hear on follow-up visits with teachers that were blown away by what their students could do when given the chance.

Why are we surprised? What would happen if our surprise were replaced with expectation?