Intellectual Challenge of
By Anthony Galardi
Low Expectations = Low Achievement
• It’s been proven that teachers often base their
expectations of students on “race and class
background” (Sleeter 127).
• Black and Latino students are commonly seen
as less teachable than White and Asian
• This disparity in low expectations, results in
boring instruction, and in return lower
achievement for Black and Latino students.
Low Expectations = Boring Instruction
• Students respond to well to “an intellectually
rich curriculum that is not structure around
test preparation” (Sleeter 127).
• Students of color often are subjected to
curriculum based around test preparation.
• Test preparation is boring and is not applicable
to real-life issues.
• Students tune out boring instruction and fail
to learn even the basic skills.
High Expectations = Higher
• When students are challenged, they are more likely “to
rise to the occasion” (Sleeter 129).
• Teachers need to take into account the challenges
students face and accept “that those challenges do not
prevent learning and that a strong education will serve
students” (Sleeter 128).
• Our idea of high expectations is often measured up to
that of “European [American] students’ normative
performance” (Sleeter 128), which is still too low of a
• We must aim “higher than closing the gap” (Sleeter
Higher Expectations = Higher Order
• Higher order thinking is essential for all
citizens of our society, not just students that
go to college.
• Higher order thinking often results in higher-
skilled jobs that pay more.
• The challenges that upper level classes
provide are more likely to breed success in for
How to Effectively Challenge All
• Intensive writing instruction
• Quick and consistent feedback
• Authentic instruction that is tailored to the individual
• Integrating technology into curriculum
• Provide students with opportunities to be creative and
• When teaching toward standards, don’t over-stretch
• Make a decision about what standards to focus on and
what standards to skip (Sleeter 132).
Examples of Challenging Curriculum –
Juanita (2nd Grade Teacher)
• Juanita expected more from her students than what was
expected of them by the state standards.
• Juanita focused her instruction primarily on publishing
• Curriculum was rooted in using technology to create books
on a variety of topics/genres.
• Juanita provided students with explicit instructions on how
to use computers until they were prepared to work
• Juanita empowered students by allowing them to teach
each other, while she worked with students who needed
• Strategies that are used to help support students
to think more complexly about certain topics or
• Scaffolding is when you provide the student with
just enough support and then gradually give
them more responsibility and freedom.
• Scaffolding is very effective when used to support
students who are “writing on intellectually
challenging topics” (Sleeter 141).
• There are four stages of scaffolding for writing.
• Stage 1 – support students to build knowledge
of the topic.
• Stage 2 – teacher talks about and models the
writing process for the students.
• Stage 3 – teacher and student write about the
topic together and discuss students writing.
• Stage 4 – student writes about specific topic
Love What You Do
• In order to fully challenge your students you must
be passionate about what you are teaching.
• Before you begin a unit, make sure that you have
fully examined and challenged yourself on the
• Expect great things from your students and
challenge them. The higher the branch, the
higher they will reach.
• Have fun and be authentic!