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
2. For Primary and Elementary
3. For Middle and High School
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.
But, a good place to start is with my video on 15 classroom management strategies all teachers need:
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]