Pub. Date:
Reaching Higher: The Power of Expectations in Schooling / Edition 1

Reaching Higher: The Power of Expectations in Schooling / Edition 1

by Rhona S. WeinsteinRhona S. Weinstein


Current price is , Original price is $33.0. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.


"She has a funny way of looking at you," a fourth-grader told Rhona Weinstein about his teacher. "She gets that look and says 'I am very disappointed in you.' I hate it when she does that. It makes me feel like I'm stupid. Just crazy, stupid, dumb." Even young children know what adults think of them. All too often, they live down to expectations, as well as up to them. This book is about the context in which expectations play themselves out.

Drawing upon a generation of research on self-fulfilling prophecies in education, including the author's own extensive fieldwork in schools, Reaching Higher argues that our expectations of children are often too low. With compelling case studies, Weinstein shows that children typed early as "not very smart" can go on to accomplish far more than is expected of them by an educational system with too narrow a definition of ability and the way abilities should be nurtured. Weinstein faults the system, pointing out that teachers themselves are harnessed by policies that do not enable them to reach higher for all children.

Her analysis takes us beyond current reforms that focus on accountability for test results. With rich descriptions of effective classrooms and schools, Weinstein makes a case for a changed system that will make the most of every child and enable students and teachers to engage more meaningfully in learning.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674016194
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/15/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 366
Product dimensions: 5.75(w) x 8.88(h) x 0.94(d)

About the Author

Rhona S. Weinstein is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • I. Reframing the Debate: What Children Can Become

    • 1. Colliding Expectations of Family and School
    • 2. Turning Points in Research on Expectations: Toward an Ecological Paradigm
    • 3. Revisiting Educational Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

  • II. Expectations in Classrooms: Through the Eyes of Students

    • 4. Children Talk about Expectations for Achievement
    • 5. Differences among Classroom Achievement Cultures
    • 6. Children’s Lives in Contrasting Classrooms
    • 7. Achievement Histories of Vulnerability and Resilience

  • III. Expectations in Systems: Through the Eyes of Educators

    • 8. Changing a Stratified School Culture
    • 9. A School Culture for the Fullest Development
    • 10. Achievement Cultures for University Faculty

  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

James G. Kelly

Here's a book to give us hope. Parents, teachers, principals and scholars can all benefit from Weinstein's lucid and passionate demonstration--that our positive expectations for children help them learn and expand their social development. At the same time, Weinstein shows just how much social norms within families and school cultures can limit children's achievements. The power of the small everyday circumstances in which we communicate our expectations to children is so persuasively documented that readers can look at their own children or students with new insight, and return to them with renewed verve.
James G. Kelly, University of California at Davis

Carola Suarez-Orozco

Reaching Higher provides a crucial reexamination of the corrosive effects of low teacher expectancies--not in artificial experimental contexts, but in the complex ecology of students' and teachers' lives in the American school system. Reaching Higher should be required reading for all those who are involved in the art and science of shaping student day-to-day experiences and helping them along their future pathways.
Carola Suarez-Orozco, Co-Director, The Harvard Immigration Project

Claude Steele

Terms like "expectancy" and "self-fulfilling prophecy" have become so familiar in the discussion of academic underachievement that they have lost much of their meaning. Weinstein's book gives them renewed force. Reaching Higher is a tour de force exposition of how the expectations we hold for students--often influenced by their background and group identity--form the schooling structures and experiences that can limit human potential. Anybody who cares about equal educational opportunity will never look at the term "expectancy" in the same way again, and will come away with a recharged hope that we can overcome this tenacious problem.
Claude Steele, Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, Stanford University

Deborah Stipek

Reaching Higher breathes life into one of the most important issues in education. Weinstein brings school and teacher expectancy effects alive in stories of children, some of whose opportunities to learn were unnecessarily thwarted, some of whom were encouraged to achieve more than they ever thought they could. This is that rare thing, a theoretically path breaking book that will be invaluable in the real world of the classroom.
Deborah Stipek, Professor of Education, Stanford University

Robert Rosenthal

Rhona Weinstein, an award-winning teacher-researcher, has produced a scholarly and heartfelt call for different kinds of educational institutions and approaches. Emphasizing the workings of teachers' expectations, Weinstein shows us life in classrooms, good teaching and bad, and what may, in the future, improve learning --not only for those of whom little is expected, but for all children. Her book is about much more than the educational effects of teacher expectations; it is about excellence in education at every level.
Robert Rosenthal, Professor of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

Jerome Bruner

Reaching Higher is a passionate, scrupulously documented book on how schools create educational inequality in America, as teachers convince less socially favored children that they lack the ability to learn and get ahead. Rhona Weinstein closes her searching book with recommendations about how schools might develop a deeper and more agentive self-confidence in today's schoolchildren, tomorrow's citizens. This is a must read for anybody concerned with the future of American education, or more broadly, with the future of democracy in America.
Jerome Bruner, University Professor, New York University, and author of The Culture of Education and Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life

Robert J. Sternberg

Rhona Weinstein's book is the most up-to-date treatment of expectancy effects in schooling now available, definitively ending any doubts about whether expectancy effects in school are a genuine psychological phenomenon. The book is interesting, engaging, and powerful.
Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, Yale University

Seymour B. Sarason

This book could not be more timely. The inadequacies of our schools have become a source of national concern as never before. At the core are two questions: What should we expect of students? And why do schools so clearly fail to help students meet those expectations? Rhona Weinstein has taken the study of self-fulfilling prophecies far beyond the earlier focus on how individuals think and interact, to show how self-fulfilling prophecies suffuse the culture of all educational institutions -- and how fateful they can be for society as a whole. Reading this book should make us all reexamine how we look at what goes on in schools. If only I had it when I took my first job as a psychologist over half a century ago!
Seymour B. Sarason, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Yale University

Customer Reviews