What are Classroom Expectations?

In addition to school wide expectations, teachers develop classroom expectations that are specific to classroom behavior while reinforcing school wide principles. These expectations can be seen throughout multiple levels of schooling, from elementary school to middle school and high school. One of the most important benefits gained from well-planned expectations is the positive influence on behavior and achievement from students being able to follow directions.

Expectations or classroom rules demonstrate the relationship between a student's choices and consequences, and outline appropriate criteria for behavior. When students and teachers develop classroom expectations together, students are more likely to embrace the expectations as their own and in turn create a positive classroom, instead of leaning toward misbehavior. These expectations also allow the teacher to practice classroom management as certain issues arise in the learning environment throughout the school year.

What are the Types of Classroom Expectations?

  1. Positive Expectations

Students are often overwhelmed by behavior rules at home and in school settings with class rules and school rules. To gain student buy-in, state classroom procedures within a positive framework. Write expectations in positive terms, describing behaviors that foster success at home, at school and in the community. Stating these expectations in back to school planning can be essential to communicate with students for the first time before classes start or in the beginning of the school year.

Such positive expectations could include: do not interrupt the teacher; speak respectfully to others; no profanity will not be permitted; and, do not use or take items that do not belong to you. Other positive expectations could include: raise your hand and wait your turn; work quietly; use appropriate language when speaking to teachers and classmates; and, respect the personal property of others.

  1. Mirror School-Wide Expectations

School-wide expectations regarding specific student behavior must be taken into consideration when developing classroom expectations. Ideally, classroom expectations mirror and promote such expectations while addressing unique classroom behavior issues in learners.

School-wide expectations such as "be courteous" and "take responsibility for your actions" can be supported by the following classroom expectations: listen when others are speaking; treat everyone with respect; begin and complete assignments; and, bring your supplies to class every day. These teaching strategies normally result in positive influences in student behaviors within decision-making, class work, communications and actions in the classroom community and problem solving.

  1. Limit Classroom Expectations

Although students have problems remembering a multitude of expectations, having too few expectations introduces an element of ambiguity. Three to five expectations are a manageable number for the teacher to reinforce. Crucial expectations could include: stay in your assigned seat unless you have permission to leave it; listen to and follow instructions; complete all assignments; speak to classmates only when the teacher gives permission; and, bring your supplies everyday. To have an effective classroom environment, expectations are not always needed.

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