41 Important Classroom Expectations (for This School Year)

classroom expectations examples and definition, explained below

Setting classroom expectations – by establishing ground rules early on – can help to not only underpin your behavior management plan and ensure prosocial behavior in the classroom.

Perhaps more importantly, it can help create a culture of learning through high expectations for doing your best, turning up ready to learn, and showing respect to one another in the clasroom.

A few years back, I conducted a visual analysis of classroom rules charts in schools in Northern England. Based on that data, I collated some of the most common classroom rules across different classrooms.

So today, I’ll share 27 ways you can set high expectations in the classroom that you should implement in the first two weeks of your new school year in order to promote a productive, safe, and inclusive class environment.

Classroom Expectations for All Ages

1. For Preschool and Kindergarten

Rules of Behavior

  • Respectful Interaction: Treat classmates and teachers with kindness and respect at all times.
  • Listening Skills: Listen attentively when others are speaking and wait for your turn to talk.
  • Following Directions: Follow the instructions of teachers and staff promptly and accurately.
  • Sharing and Cooperation: Share resources and work cooperatively with others during group activities.
  • Personal Space and Safety: Respect personal space and practice safe behaviors in the classroom and playground.

Academic Expectations

  • Active Participation: Actively participate in classroom activities and discussions.
  • Curiosity and Exploration: Show curiosity and a willingness to explore new ideas and activities.
  • Completion of Tasks: Strive to complete assigned tasks and activities within the given time.
  • Question and Discovery: Encourage asking questions and seeking answers as part of the learning process.
  • Creative Expression: Express creativity through various activities like drawing, crafting, and storytelling.

2. For Primary and Elementary

Rules of Behavior

  • Responsible Actions: Take responsibility for your actions and belongings in and out of the classroom.
  • Positive Social Interaction: Engage in positive social interactions, showing respect and kindness to peers and adults.
  • Adherence to Rules: Follow school and classroom rules consistently and understand the consequences of not doing so.
  • Conflict Resolution: Resolve conflicts peacefully and seek help from adults when necessary.
  • Independence and Initiative: Show independence in daily routines and take the initiative in seeking help or information when needed.

Academic Expectations

  • Engaged Learning: Remain engaged and attentive during lessons and participate actively in discussions.
  • Critical Thinking: Apply critical thinking skills to solve problems and understand new concepts.
  • Organization and Time Management: Organize work and manage time effectively to complete assignments and projects.
  • Goal Setting: Set and strive towards individual academic goals, understanding the steps needed to achieve them.
  • Continuous Improvement: Show a commitment to continuous improvement by seeking feedback and working on areas of difficulty.

3. For Middle and High School

Rules of Behavior

  • Respect and Empathy: Demonstrate respect and empathy towards peers, teachers, and staff in all interactions.
  • Accountability for Actions: Take accountability for your actions and understand their impact on the school community.
  • Positive Participation: Actively participate in school activities and contribute positively to the school environment.
  • Self-Advocacy: Advocate for your needs and rights in a respectful and appropriate manner.
  • Digital Citizenship: Practice responsible digital citizenship, using technology and social media ethically and respectfully.

Academic Expectations

  • Advanced Engagement: Engage deeply with academic material, showing a willingness to explore complex topics.
  • Independent Learning: Develop and demonstrate independent learning skills, taking initiative in your education.
  • Critical Analysis and Debate: Critically analyze information and participate constructively in debates and discussions.
  • Research and Inquiry: Conduct research and inquiry projects, showing ability to synthesize and evaluate information.
  • Preparation for Future Goals: Actively prepare for future academic and career goals, making informed choices about courses and extracurricular activities.

Additional Expectations to Consider

  • Have a Growth Mindset: Embrace challenges and view failures as opportunities for growth and learning. Cultivate a positive attitude towards learning, understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort and persistence.
  • Seek Answers Yourself (Before Asking the Teacher): Take the initiative to find solutions to questions or problems independently before seeking assistance from the teacher. This approach encourages self-reliance and critical thinking, as it motivates students to explore various resources and methods to understand concepts.
  • Do Your Personal Best: Strive to achieve your highest potential in every task, whether academic or extracurricular, by putting in your best effort and dedication. This expectation fosters a sense of personal responsibility and pride in one’s work, regardless of the outcome.
  • Celebrate Other People’s Successes: Actively recognize and appreciate the achievements of others, fostering a positive and supportive classroom environment. This practice not only builds a sense of community but also encourages a culture where success is shared and celebrated collectively.
  • Proactively Prevent Harm: Be vigilant and proactive in identifying potential risks or unsafe situations in the classroom and take appropriate measures to prevent harm. This expectation ensures that students prioritize safety and contribute to a secure learning environment for everyone.
  • Be Resourceful: Utilize available resources creatively and effectively to solve problems or complete tasks. This entails thinking outside the box and making the most of the tools and information at your disposal, thereby enhancing problem-solving skills and independence.
  • Exercise Compassion: Show empathy and understanding towards the feelings and situations of others, creating an inclusive and caring classroom atmosphere. This practice encourages students to develop emotional intelligence and strengthens the bonds between classmates.
  • Think Ahead: Plan and anticipate future needs or consequences of actions, both in academic tasks and personal conduct. This forward-thinking approach helps in developing foresight and decision-making skills, essential for personal and academic success.
  • Keep an Open Mind: Remain open to new ideas, perspectives, and methods of learning, embracing diversity in thoughts and experiences. This mindset encourages adaptability, critical thinking, and a willingness to learn from various sources and viewpoints.
  • Be Inclusive: Actively include all classmates in activities and discussions, regardless of their backgrounds, abilities, or beliefs. This practice fosters a sense of belonging and respect in the classroom, ensuring that every student feels valued and supported in their learning environment.
  • Follow the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated, demonstrating kindness, respect, and fairness in all interactions. This principle serves as a foundational guideline for behavior, promoting a positive and harmonious community where mutual respect is paramount.

Behavior Management Strategies

Behavior management is often the hardest thing for new teachers to master. But without it, the classroom will not have a culture of learning.

You can choose your own strategy to establish classroom norms – from assertive discipline on the conservative end of the spectrum through to the progressive maangement model on the other.

But, a good place to start is with my video on 15 classroom management strategies all teachers need:

Chris
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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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