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When working as a Corporate trainer I often ran a course in one training room while other trainers were running other courses on different topics in an adjacent training rooms. Meeting over lunch the conversation regularly turned to the different groups we were training that week

I would often ask one colleague “How is your group this week?” His response was invariably “they are the best group ever” to which I retorted “you said the same last week and the week before -they can’t always be the best group ever -it doesn’t make sense”.

On reflection however, I can see how my former colleague had a point and that is all to do with expectations and the effect of this on our students. The following story illustrates the effect of expectations on success.

Story about teacher’s expectations of their students

The story goes that a group of teachers were told that certain kids in their class had taken a special IQ test which showed that they were destined to succeed

“It was a standardised IQ test, Flanagan’s Test of General Ability,” the researchers said. “But the cover we put on it, we had printed on every test booklet, said ‘Harvard Test of Inflected Acquisition.’ “

The teachers were advised that this new test from Harvard had the very special ability to predict which kids were about to be very exceptional — that is, which kids were about to experience a dramatic growth in their IQ.

After the test, the children were scattered across the different classes totally at random. There was nothing at all to distinguish these kids from the other kids, but the teachers were instructed that the test predicted the kids were on the verge of an intense intellectual bloom.

The children were followed over the next two years, and it was discovered that the teachers’ expectations of these kids really did affect the students. With the result that if teachers had been led to expect greater gains in IQ, then increasingly, those kids gained more IQ,”.

Research confirmed that expectations affect teachers’ moment-to-moment interactions with the children they teach in a thousand almost invisible ways. Teachers give the students that they expect to succeed more time to answer questions, more specific feedback, and more approval: They consistently touch, nod and smile at those kids more.

The researchers commented “It’s not magic, it’s not mental telepathy, it’s very likely these thousands of different ways of treating people in small ways every day.”

So, when my colleague started off each group with the thought that they were going to be the ‘best’ group ever -it is no surprise that this influenced his interactions with them and it became true.

I have seen it work the other way too -taking over a group that had acquired the reputation that they were ‘difficult and uncooperative’ that is exactly what I found because I began to see every question or delay as proof of their reputation whereas looking back I can see that their behaviour was no worse or better than usual.

Our attitude as trainer is a prelude to success or failure and if you are new to the world of training this is just aspect of being an outstanding trainer -want this to be you not book a free call to discuss how I can help