Student achievement is strongly affected by what the teacher expects of them and this has been demonstrated by many educational researchers.
How to Set Consistent Expectations to Improve Student Behavior We often hear about the importance of setting high academic expectations for students. But what about behavior?
One of the best ways to help students meet rigorous academic expectations is to first set high expectations for behavior. In classrooms with clear and consistent behavior expectations: Students monitor themselves and take more responsibility for their behavior — and their learning.
Students spend more time on task and academic learning time increases. Teachers can more easily recognize and motivate positive behaviors. Classroom stress for students and teachers decreases. Students gain a sense of safety and security. The classroom culture and the school culture become more positive overall.
In contrast, in classrooms where behaviors vary day to day or minute to minute, teachers struggle to teach and students often learn less than they should. Think about all the instructional minutes that are stolen by disruptive behaviors. Those missing minutes mean students have less time to focus on and master academic standards.
Further, the problem is compounded when struggling learners miss class time because of discipline referrals or suspensions. Behavior expectations are procedures and rules that are taught to students to encourage positive behaviors and prevent problem behaviors.
They form important building blocks for a positive school culture. These expectations can address how students treat each other and the teacher, and how they operate in the classroom. They can also address how students behave outside of the classroom, such as in the cafeteria, playground, quad, library, hallways, restrooms, bus, and more.
This allows them to feel more confident, engaged and connected to the school community. It also makes it easier for teachers to recognize positive behaviors, and to correct problem behaviors to keep small problems small. Further, for students who may have difficult home lives, this consistency and routine can provide the structure and stability they need and crave.
Another benefit is that consistent expectations can help diffuse emotionally heated situations.
Since the teacher and the student and parent are already aware of the behavior expectation, they can swiftly move to address the problem behavior, instead of arguing over what the student did wrong. Define your behavior expectations, along with rewards and consequences.
Invite key stakeholders from across your school to create your behavior expectations. Each desired behavior should be observable, measurable, objective and specific.
Next, establish a reward system for recognizing students who achieve these expectations, and establish consequences for expectations that are not met. Like the expectations, the rewards and consequences should be age-appropriate and consistent. Clearly communicate your behavior expectations to students — and parents.
One way to communicate consistent behavior expectations to students and parents is to put them in writing. Create a handout, and distribute it to all students and parents.
Post the expectations on classroom walls or other prominent places so students can refer to them as often as needed. Even better, post the expectations in or near the area where the targeted behaviors are expected to take place e. Post the expectations on the school website. Include the expectations in the school handbook.
Then, read the expectations aloud to students.Students monitor themselves and take more responsibility for their behavior — and their learning. Students spend more time on task and academic learning time increases. Teachers can more easily recognize and motivate positive behaviors.
Teachers can develop a positive classroom climate if they avoid forming differential expectations for students based on qualities such as gender, ethnicity, or parents’ background (Schunk, Pintrich, and Meece, ). And after a student demonstrates good behavior or academic achievement in a specific situation, telling her you knew she would be successful (Kerman et al., ) also instills confidence and a culture of positive expectations.
Students need to know that their teachers respect them and have confidence in them. For students to achieve to anywhere near their potential, teachers and parents need to have high expectations.
What adults believe about a young person’s capacity, often determines what will be achieved. Your students will live up (or down!) to your expectations. Student achievement is strongly affected by what the teacher expects of them and this has been demonstrated by many educational researchers.
The first and most famous experiment is known as the Pygmalion effect. Goldenberg reported that regardless of their expectations, the teachers in this study were generally very supportive and positive with all their students. But he did identify two children in one classroom, for whom the teacher’s behavior actually counteracted any effect her expectations might have had.