Sorry but this form will not work without cookies enabled. Please adjust your browser settings to enable cookies to continue. For more information on how to do this please see our.

  • Did you know?

    In 2020, 25% of our students achieved 40 points and above in the IB Diploma.


  • Did you know?

    Through Nord Anglia University our teaching staff maintain the highest standards of a rigorous British education.

    Our Staff

  • Apply now!

    Admissions for 2022/23 are open!

    IB & FS

  • Connect with our community

    Find out more about out what's happening at the School


  • Did you Know?

    By talking with us directly we can tailor our information to your specific needs and questions. Get in touch!

    reach for your dreams

  • Did you Know?

    We are a warm and welcoming community providing a rigorous education to our students.

    Family school

Challenge and Pygmalion

28 April 2015

  • Duck photo

True learning takes place over a long period of time. The fact that a student seems to understand something in one lesson is no guarantee that they will still understand it a few weeks later. So if we can’t be sure certain learning is embedded, how can we make sure each lesson is successful and effective?

At BIS Abu Dhabi, one of the key words we focus on is “CHALLENGE”. In each lesson our aim is to ensure that every student is challenged at the level that is most appropriate for them. In other words, every student should feel as though their brain is hurting just a little bit! By focusing on high levels of challenge we know that students will aim high and their learning and skills do continue to develop at a fast rate.

The Pygmalion Effect comes from a series of studies which showed that having high expectations for students helps raise their achievement. If we as teachers aim high then students will aim to meet and often exceed our expectations. By having high levels of challenge we get students used to aiming high and stretching their brains. This then helps them to reach even higher levels in the future. By the way, the opposite of the Pygmalion Effect is known as the “golem effect”: low expectations lead to low achievement.

In supporting your children at home, seek to help them to aim high and have belief in themselves that they can achieve something which at first seems difficult. They will be used to being challenged at school and they know that just because something is not easy to begin with that does not mean it is impossible. Challenge and support over time will help our students achieve amazing levels of learning and have excellent skills to encounter other learning opportunities in the future.

Patrick Horne