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Nurturing Success: The Impact of High Behavioural Expectations, Culture of Respect, and Trust

The Early Career Framework states teachers should learn how to... Demonstrate consistently high behavioural expectations, by creating a culture of respect and trust in the classroom that supports all pupils to succeed (e.g. by modelling the types of courteous behaviour expected of pupils). High Expectations (Standard 1 – Set high expectations)

In the complex tapestry of education, the role of teachers extends beyond imparting knowledge; it encompasses shaping the very fabric of a classroom's culture. This blog post delves into the crucial statement that teachers should master the art of demonstrating consistently high behavioural expectations by creating a culture of respect and trust in the classroom. Drawing on academic references, we explore the profound impact of such a culture on student success, emphasizing the role of teachers as not only educators but also as architects of an environment where all pupils can thrive.

The Foundation of High Behavioural Expectations

1. Setting the Tone for Success

Consistently high behavioural expectations are the cornerstone of a thriving classroom. Researchers (Brophy, 2006; Marzano, Marzano, & Pickering, 2003) emphasize that the expectations teachers set profoundly influence student behaviour and academic outcomes. When teachers communicate and model a culture of respect and trust, they establish a foundation that supports the success of all pupils.

2. The Power of Teacher Modeling

Modeling courteous behaviour is a powerful tool in establishing behavioural expectations (Emmer & Sabornie, 2015). Teachers serve as role models, and their actions speak louder than words. By consistently demonstrating the types of courteous behaviour expected from pupils, teachers set a standard that fosters a positive and respectful classroom environment. This modeling becomes a catalyst for cultivating similar behaviour among students.

Creating a Culture of Respect and Trust

1. Building Positive Relationships

A culture of respect and trust begins with positive teacher-student relationships (Roorda, Koomen, Spilt, & Oort, 2011). Teachers who take the time to build meaningful connections with their students create an atmosphere where mutual respect naturally flourishes. Positive relationships contribute to a sense of trust, making students more receptive to high behavioural expectations.

2. Promoting Inclusivity

A respectful and trusting classroom culture is inherently inclusive. When teachers value diversity and create an environment where every student feels seen and heard, they foster a sense of belonging (Freire, 1970). Inclusive classrooms are more likely to cultivate positive behaviour and a collective commitment to the success of each pupil.

Strategies for Demonstrating High Behavioural Expectations

1. Consistent Communication of Expectations

Communication is key to setting and reinforcing high behavioural expectations. Teachers should clearly articulate the expected behaviours, consistently communicate them to students, and revisit them as needed (Marzano et al., 2003). When expectations are transparent, students are better equipped to meet them.

2. Modeling Courteous Behaviour

Teachers should actively model the courteous behaviour they expect from students (Emmer & Sabornie, 2015). Whether it's demonstrating active listening, using polite language, or showing empathy, these actions serve as a blueprint for students to follow. Modeling creates a visual representation of the behavioural expectations in action.

3. Establishing Classroom Norms Collaboratively

Involve students in the process of establishing classroom norms and expectations (Freire, 1970). When students actively participate in creating the behavioural guidelines, they develop a sense of ownership and responsibility. Collaborative norm-setting encourages a shared commitment to maintaining a respectful and trusting classroom culture.

4. Providing Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is a valuable tool for reinforcing high behavioural expectations (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). When teachers provide feedback that focuses on specific behaviours, acknowledges positive actions, and offers guidance for improvement, it reinforces the culture of respect and trust. Feedback should be timely, specific, and framed in a way that encourages growth.

Benefits of High Behavioural Expectations, Respect, and Trust

1. Improved Academic Outcomes

The interplay of high behavioural expectations, respect, and trust contributes to improved academic outcomes (Brophy, 2006). When students feel secure in a respectful and trusting environment, they are more likely to engage in learning, participate actively, and demonstrate positive behaviour. This positive correlation between a positive classroom culture and academic success is well-documented in educational research.

2. Enhanced Social and Emotional Well-being

A culture of respect and trust positively influences students' social and emotional well-being (Roorda et al., 2011). Students who feel valued and respected by their teachers are more likely to experience positive emotions, develop strong interpersonal skills, and navigate social interactions successfully. This emotional well-being forms the foundation for a conducive learning environment.

3. Positive Impact on Classroom Management

High behavioural expectations, coupled with a culture of respect and trust, contribute to effective classroom management (Marzano et al., 2003). When students understand and internalize the expectations, there is a collective commitment to maintaining a positive and orderly classroom. This, in turn, reduces disruptions and creates an environment conducive to teaching and learning.

In the intricate dance of education, teachers wield a transformative power that extends beyond the transmission of knowledge. By mastering the art of demonstrating consistently high behavioural expectations and cultivating a culture of respect and trust, teachers create a learning environment where all pupils can thrive. The impact of such a culture resonates not only in improved academic outcomes but also in the holistic development of students' social and emotional well-being.

As architects of the classroom culture, teachers play a pivotal role in shaping the future of their students. In the intersection of high behavioural expectations, respect, and trust lies the potential for a transformative educational experience—one where students not only succeed academically but also emerge as individuals equipped with the values of respect, empathy, and a commitment to the success of their peers.


Brophy, J. (2006). History of research on classroom management. In C. M. Evertson & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of Classroom Management: Research, Practice, and Contemporary Issues (pp. 17-43). Routledge.

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

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum.

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

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

Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher–student relationships on students' school engagement and achievement: A meta-analytic approach. Review of Educational Research, 81(4), 493-529.

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