I have just started reading The Virtuoso Teacher by Paul Harris (2012). One thing that has already jumped out at me is the idea that there are no bad students, only students who progress at different rates.
Harris goes on to suggest that the slower progressing students will still achieve just as much as the faster progressing students. The important point is that all students will achieve some form of success and attainment, and it is the teacher’s role to recognise that their students will be different and achieve success in their own time.
Harris sums up by suggesting that students will live up to their teachers’ expectations and the reinforces the importance of keeping our teacher expectations in check when working with slower progressing students. A positive and flexible approach to expectations for all students is required, through setting individual goals and expectations within reach of the student.
This is a good reminder to teachers not to base progress purely on external measures of success such as exams or on our own notions of progress and achievement based on how we or others learn. External measures can be an important yardstick when needed, but smaller, more achievable milestones and goals may work just as well on the motivation of our students.