Meeting Student Expectations - Advice for Teachers
Jun 17, 2012 Teaching 2684 Views
Most teachers of almost any subject have something in mind in terms of what they will teach their students. As teachers who have taken many students down the path of learning our chosen subject we know what to expect. We know what is required and how long it will take to reach the destination. The problem is our students will often have a very different perspective.
Expectations are almost always the problem when a student/parent is dissatisfied or any customer for that matter is dissatisfied. The success of most fast-food restaurants is not the food itself but the meeting of expectations. Whenever anyone goes to one of their restaurants the food and service are basically what they expect. The key to their success is meeting expectations. If you apply this same principal to your teaching you will find that your students are less likely to become frustrated or worse, give up completely. So your first and probably most important role as a teacher is to set and meet expectations.
Prevention v cure
Prevention as they say is the best cure. A student will become dissatisfied if their progress seems too slow. Their progress really depends on how much time they dedicate to study and the quality of that study but their expectations may very well come from somewhere else. If their level of study (therefore progress) and expectations don't match they will soon lose motivation. To avoid this happening teachers need to make it clear to students how much study is required and what that means in terms of progress. It is also good to break it down in to small blocks of study. In other words for every 10 hours of study what would a study hope to achieve. When you drive along a highway every so often you will see a sign telling you how many kilometres to the next major town. This helps to keep you clear about where you are and where you are heading.
After the fact
When a student becomes disillusioned in other words despite your best efforts their progress didn't meet their expectations I usually suggest the following. You need to make a plan to get them back on track. Set out your practice expectations and a timeline based on the goal. Once you have done this ask them if they are willing to put in the time required. If students are not willing to keep up their end of the bargain you need to address it straight away. There is no point if they are not prepared to put in the time and effort. If this is the case you have a motivational problem and that's for another article.
Watch what you say
Teachers often fall into the habit of saying it's okay when it's not okay just so as not to upset their student but this is basically just avoiding the issue. When a student is not meeting your requirements you are in a sense misleading them if you don't address it. I have heard many comments over the years from students who said their previous teacher wasn't so strict on practice. The reason they left that teacher was due to lack of progress and their lack of progress was due to a lack of practice. Do your student a favour and be honest with them.
David Hart has been teaching guitar for over 25 years and playing since 1980. David has worked with both children and adults. David now owns and operates the G4 Guitar Teacher Network. David also advises many other music schools and teachers on how to work with students in terms of learning music. In the field of guitar education there are few teachers how would have more real life practical experience than David. David's key to success is what he calls his research approach to teaching. This means he is constantly looking for what works verses what does not like a scientist looking to prove or disprove theories. This research also includes keeping up to date on the findings from around the world. David's gift is simplifying what he knows so it can be applied and understood simply and easily. To contact David please feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org