What do our students expect of us?

Tuesday 10 September 2019

At the heart of the IB Diploma Programme diagram is a picture of a child. IB programmes are student-centred. So what might a student-centred approach to learning look like?

What do our students expect?

As your students return for a new school year do you know what’s important to them, what their expectations are?  For inspiration watch Big Picture Learning’s ’10 Expectations’ video.

Their expectations can be turned into the following checklist of reflective:

  1. Relationships. Am I just another face in the classroom, a test score? Or do my teachers know about me and my interests and talents? Do the teachers help me form relationships with peers and adults and peers  who might serve as models and coaches?
  2. Relevance. Is it just a series of hoops to jump? Or is the work relevant to my interests? Do my teachers help me understand how my learning contributes to my community and to the world?
  3. Time. Am I expected to learn at a constant pace decided by the teacher, or can I learn at my own pace? Is there time for learning to be deep as well as broad?
  4. Timing. Do all students have to learn things in the same sequence, or can I learn things in an order that fits my learning style or interests?
  5. Play. Is there always pressure to perform? Or do I have opportunities to explore and make mistakes and learn from them, without being branded as a failure? Do I have opportunities to tinker and make guesses?
  6. Practice. Do we learn something and then immediately move on to the next skill? Or can we engage in deep and sustained practice of those skills we need to learn?
  7. Choice. Am I just following the same path as every student? Or do I have real choices about what, when, and how I will learn and demonstrate my abilities?
  8. Authenticity. Is my work just a series of dittos? Or is the learning and work I do considered significant outside of school by experts, family, and employers? Does the community recognize the value of my work?
  9. Challenge. Is it just about completing assignments? Or do I feel appropriately challenged? Am I addressing high and meaningful standards of excellence?
  10. Application. Is my learning all theoretical? Or do I have opportunities to apply what I’m learning in real world settings?


  • How do you engage with student voice? How do you know what your students' expect of their school?
  • To what extent are your students' at the centre of their own learning?
  • How do we learn about what our students' are really interested in - their passions and their talents?
  • To what extent are we drawing out (e + ducere = to lead or draw out) the talents and gifts within each of our students or are we filling the pale?

The cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky defines his view of education in an Enlightenment sense, in which the “highest goal in life is to inquire and create. The purpose of education from that point of view is just to help people to learn on their own. It’s you the learner who is going to achieve in the course of education and it’s really up to you to determine how you’re going to master and use it.” He compares this view of education to that of indoctrination, where students have to be placed into existing frameworks.

Tags: New Year Expectations, student-centred approach


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