Chris Emdin, Associate Director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education, explains how high expectations in the classroom empowers students to rise to the challenge and exceed benchmarks.
[INTRO SOUND] I’ll define academics through a dictionary definition– the two definitions of academic. First definition of academic is– of or relating to education or scholarship. The second one is– of only theoretical interest and no practical value. So those are the two definitions of academic.
And I think that we oftentimes have a pedagogy that advocates for definition two and goals of definition one. And you can’t get to definition one unless you change definition two. So good academic spaces are related to the humanity of the young folks and experiences of the young folks, and they are doing.
And the goal is to have the formal relationship to the content. I think that’s the goal of any good teaching. Art class or science class, science or math– the goal of the educator is to create an environment where young folks form a relationship to the content that is so strong that they want to pursue that discipline at the highest levels. Also, high expectations are a part of love. And high expectations and high academic rigor is a function of love.
I always tell my students I love and believe in you– that’s why I expect you to do more. And the idea that relationship building and care for young folks cannot happen concurrently with high expectations is such a fallacy. It’s a tough question to ask sometimes. What makes you think that those things are opposite?
I care about them. Of course, I want them to be excellent. High academic expectations, which is criticality. I going to be critical of what you present because I know that you have a potential to be and do better. It’s about high expectations, high rigor, and then good love that creates the passion for the discipline so they can meet those benchmarks.