Speaker/author Mamie McCullough tells this story.
Several years ago as she started the school year, second-grade teacher Frances Hurst of Rayville Parish, Rayville, Louisi
ana, was told that she had the "middle" class of students. At that time, all the students were grouped in either "low," "middle" or "high." This grouping or grading bothered Ms. Hurst quite a bit because she had never taught "ability grouping" before.
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On her first day of class, the students told her they were the "middle group," and at that point Ms. Hurst went into action. She closed the door, placed paper over the glass in the windows, and told the students there had been a mistake and that they were actually the "high" group. From that point on, she treated them like they were the high group. Her expectations for them were high; their own expectations and confidence grew, and at the end of the school year the SRA test (which is given to measure the achievement for each group) revealed that her group had tested one year ahead of the "high" group. Since this test was a class average, that meant that some of the students were testing much higher than the "high" group.
Someone once said that if you treat a person as he is you make him worse than he was, but if you treat that person as the individual he's capable of becoming you make him the best person possible. That's a marvellous philosophy because it's true. This was aptly proved by Ms. Frances Hurst. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every parent, teacher, employer, etc., in America would treat everybody as if they were in the "high group"? Odds are dramatic that everything would be better. You can't influence everybody, but you can influence those you work and live with. Put them all in the high group - they'll climb higher and so will you. See you at the top!
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