I came across this superb quote recently, “Let’s be the best at everything that requires no talent.” It’s by Paul O’Connell the well known, and highly talented, former Ireland rugby player.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, it’s not saying that people shouldn’t aim to be the best at what ever they are talented in (whether talent exists is another completely different debate). Certainly, in the classroom there are many things that all learners should be expected to do not matter what their previous attainment, talent or ability. I’m sure that you can come up with your own list of things quite easily, but it would include: being on time; having the correct equipment and uniform; getting ready to work quickly; following classroom expectations, such as putting a hand up if they need the teacher’s attention; work must be completed on time, saying nothing about its quality; etc. It is important that there are no exceptions to this. Certainly, if you do have any ‘talented’ learners, they should be expected to lead the way in all of this and their ‘talent’ should not be allowed to let them skimp on these basic expectations.
If teachers insist on these behaviours from their learners then they are setting the scene for all learners to maximise their progress and attainment.