Belief that educators should hold and communicate positive beliefs and expectations for all students, including those who may have different values than they do; are culturally, racially, or socioeconomically different from them; who appear disengaged and unmotivated; or who struggle and misbehave. Belief that problem behaviors result from unmet needs or lack of skills rather than the student’s character, family background, or intention to do harm.
In practice: When this belief is upheld, educators seek first to understand students and their perspectives, honoring the strengths they can build upon rather than acting from a deficit model. This starts with considering developmental characteristics when reflecting on expectations of students and student misbehavior, as well as culture and the influence on students in the classroom.
Allow students to share about themselves individually and culturally using Morning Meeting (elementary) or Responsive Advisory Meeting (middle school). These types of sharing opportunities not only provide great insight into perspectives, but go a long way toward building empathy, breaking down barriers, and overcoming biases.