Ken Bain starts off Chapter 4 of What the Best College Teachers Do with a tale of how you can manipulate the performance of students based on the way you set their expectations and allow them to feel fear.  This does not sound like a positive topic to consider yet Bain’s story set the stage for his discussion not only do  the best college teachers have high expectation of their class, and are able to tell their students they can achieve it (if they want to).

In the end there are ten questions that Bain believes (as reflected in one good teachers ideas) that are negotiables for people.  You see Bain argues that learning is not limited except by our own fears.  We can negotiate how much critical thinking we learn and employ we are not limited by gender, race or age.

For me to reflect on this in my life I have to ask the question not so much where did my own lecturers not show this high expectation but what way did they model limitless ideas on thinking and learning.

One of the oddest occurrences for me on this was asking a friend/pastor about my future and he said something like “You always wanted to go to Fuller Seminary and I figured you’d get their somehow.”  In thinking about this I felt him say you had a dream and would make it happen.  That is he demonstrated a belief that I could meet his and my own expectations.

So what expectations do you have of your students learning?