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Cultivating Success: The Impact of High Behavioural Expectations in the Classroom

The Early Career Framework states teachers should learn how to... Demonstrate consistently high behavioural expectations, by teaching and rigorously maintaining clear behavioural expectations (e.g. for contributions, volume level and concentration). High Expectations (Standard 1 – Set high expectations).

In the dynamic landscape of education, teachers are not only bearers of knowledge but architects of the learning environment. This blog post delves into the pivotal role of teachers in demonstrating consistently high behavioural expectations by teaching and rigorously maintaining clear expectations for contributions, volume level, and concentration. Rooted in academic references, we explore the profound impact of such expectations on student success and the creation of a positive and conducive learning atmosphere.


The Importance of High Behavioural Expectations 

1. Shaping Classroom Culture

High behavioural expectations lay the foundation for a positive classroom culture. Research by Marzano, Marzano, and Pickering (2003) underscores the significance of the expectations teachers set, indicating that they play a crucial role in shaping student behaviour and academic outcomes. When teachers establish clear and high expectations, they create an environment conducive to learning and respectful engagement.


2. Guiding Student Behaviour

Behavioural expectations serve as guidelines that help students understand the parameters of acceptable conduct in the classroom (Emmer & Sabornie, 2015). Teachers who teach and consistently maintain these expectations provide students with a roadmap for success. This guidance contributes to a sense of order and predictability, essential elements for effective teaching and learning.


Teaching and Maintaining Clear Behavioural Expectations

 1. Explicit Instruction on Expectations

Teaching behavioural expectations involves explicit instruction on what is expected of students in terms of their behaviour. This can include discussions on active listening, respectful communication, and collaborative engagement. By clearly communicating these expectations, teachers empower students to meet the behavioural standards set for the classroom (Emmer & Sabornie, 2015).


2. Rigorous Maintenance and Consistency 

Maintaining clear behavioural expectations requires diligence and consistency. Rigorous enforcement of these expectations, whether related to contributions, volume level, or concentration, establishes a predictable environment where students understand the consequences of their actions. Consistency in enforcement reinforces the expectations and contributes to a positive and focused learning atmosphere (Marzano et al., 2003).


3. Individualized Support and Reinforcement

Each student is unique, and teachers should recognize the need for individualized support in meeting behavioural expectations. Offering positive reinforcement for adhering to expectations and providing additional guidance or interventions when needed contribute to a supportive learning environment. Research by Hattie and Timperley (2007) highlights the power of feedback in reinforcing positive behaviours.


The Impact of Clear Behavioural Expectations on Student Success

1. Improved Academic Performance

The correlation between clear behavioural expectations and improved academic performance is well-documented (Marzano et al., 2003). A classroom with high expectations fosters an environment where students are attentive, engaged, and focused on their studies. The structured atmosphere created by clear expectations contributes to enhanced learning outcomes and academic success.


2. Positive Impact on Classroom Management

Maintaining clear behavioural expectations positively influences classroom management (Marzano et al., 2003). When students understand the expectations and the consequences for deviating from them, there is a collective commitment to maintaining order and discipline. This, in turn, minimizes disruptions, creating an environment conducive to effective teaching and learning.


3. Fostering a Respectful Learning Atmosphere

Teaching and maintaining clear behavioural expectations contribute to the creation of a respectful learning atmosphere. Students learn not only academic content but also essential life skills related to communication, collaboration, and self-discipline. This atmosphere extends beyond the classroom, influencing students' interactions with peers and adults alike (Emmer & Sabornie, 2015).


Academic References


1. Emmer, E. T., & Sabornie, E. J. (2015). Handbook of Classroom Management: Research, Practice, and Contemporary Issues. Routledge.

   - Emmer and Sabornie provide insights into effective classroom management strategies, emphasizing the importance of clear behavioural expectations.


2. Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77(1), 81-112.

   - Hattie and Timperley's research explores the impact of feedback on learning and behaviour, highlighting its significance in reinforcing positive behaviours.


3. Marzano, R. J., Marzano, J. S., & Pickering, D. (2003). Classroom management that works: Research-based strategies for every teacher. ASCD.

   - Marzano, Marzano, and Pickering delve into effective classroom management, emphasizing research-based strategies for setting and maintaining behavioural expectations.


In the educational landscape, teachers wield the transformative power to shape not only the minds but also the behaviour of their students. By mastering the art of demonstrating consistently high behavioural expectations through teaching and rigorous maintenance, educators create a classroom culture that fosters success. The impact of clear expectations resonates in improved academic performance, positive classroom management, and the cultivation of a respectful learning atmosphere.


As educators, the responsibility lies not only in imparting knowledge but in sculpting an environment where students thrive academically and personally. In the intersection of clear behavioural expectations and effective teaching and maintenance, teachers become architects of a transformative educational experience—one where students not only meet academic standards but also emerge as individuals with the skills and behaviours essential for lifelong success.

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