10 Ways Teachers Can Communicate Expectations to Students

Methods for Letting Students Know What You Expect

In any endeavor, if you do not understand what others expect from you then you will have a much greater likelihood of failure. However, many teachers fail to let students know exactly what they expect of them. One key to success in getting students to succeed is being completely transparent with them about your expectations. However, it is not enough to simply state them at the beginning of the school year. Following are ten ways that you can not only communicate but also reinforce your expectations to students each and every day.

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Post Your Expectations Around the Room for Kids to See

Teacher Communicating with Class
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From the first day of class, your expectations should be clear. While many teachers post their class rules for all to see, it is also a great idea to post your expectations. You can do this through a poster that you create similar to the one you might use for class rules, or you can select posters with inspirational quotes sayings that reinforce your expectations.

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Have Students Sign an "Achievement Contract"

An achievement contract is basically an agreement between you and each student about not only what you expect from them but what they can expect from you as the year progresses. Read this through with the students, ask for any questions, and then have them sign it. If you wish, you could also have this sent home for a parent signature as well to ensure that their parents are informed.

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Allow Students the Space to Learn On Their Own

Students need to learn to become self-directed learners. While you can provide guidance, as the year goes on you should pull back and give them more responsibility for their own learning. You should avoid the desire to jump right in and help a struggling student by simply providing them the answers to their questions but instead lead them to find the answers for themselves.

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Create a Written Dialogue With Students

A great tool to make sure that students feel connected and empowered is to create a written dialogue tool. You can either have a periodic assignment for students to complete or an ongoing back-and-forth journal. The purpose of this is to have students write about how they feel they are doing in your class. You can use their comments and your own space to personally guide them while reinforcing your expectations.

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Have a Positive Attitude Towards Student Achievement

Make sure that you do not harbor any specific biases towards student learning. If you believe that the students in your class just can't learn a specific subject, they probably won't. This isn't because of any failing on their part, but because of your own attitudes and the way you approach them and the lesson. Guard your words and make sure that you don't give students the impression that you do not have faith in their abilities. Try to always maintain a positive attitude. You must believe wholeheartedly that your students can and will learn what you are teaching them.

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Get to Know Your Students

A positive teacher-student relationship is a wonderful thing to inspire students to learn and achieve. If you allow students to see you as a real person, and you can connect with them and their needs, then you will find that many will achieve simply to please you.

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Remain in Charge As You Teach

Very little can happen when you have poor classroom management. Teachers who allow students to disrupt class unchecked will find that their classroom situation will quickly deteriorate. You are the teacher and the leader of the class. Another trap for many teachers is trying to be friends with their students. While it is great to be friendly with your students, being 'friends' can lead to problems with discipline and ethics. In order to have students meet your expectations, they need to know that you are the authority in the class.

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Be Clear About Objectives for Assignments and Tests

It is very hard, if not impossible, for students to know your expectations on assignments and tests if you do not clearly express them from the beginning. You can do this through well-defined learning objectives. Students can then understand what they need to learn and do to be successful at any point in time.

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Cheer Your Students On

You should be a cheerleader for your students, letting them know as often as possible that you know they can succeed. Use positive reinforcement whenever you can. Let them know that you believe in them and their abilities. Tell them that you are willing to help them in any way that you can. You might be one of the few people in their lives who expresses confidence in them.

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Promote Mastery Learning Through Revisions

When students turn in sub-par assignments, you have two choices. You can accept the assignment as is and give the students whatever grade they earned, or you can allow them to revise their work and turn it in for additional points. This second choice promotes mastery learning. Students can feel as though they have more control, and you can provide them with additional assistance as needed on the way to their achieving the objectives you have set for them.