Expectations

Ice castles 1-14We recently went to visit an ice exhibit that is in our area this winter. In anticipation of the visit, we dressed warmly, took hats and gloves, and wore heavy-duty shoes that could navigate the snow. We expected it to be cold and we prepared ourselves for the conditions, knowing what to expect in the snow. I often work with my student teachers on setting expectations about the behavior that they want exhibited by their students. Just as I would have been incredibly cold without proper preparation for the ice exhibit, we often don’t prepare children enough with instructions for them to follow through as we expect. Expectations come before the children proceed.
“I am going to count to 10. When I get to 10, you should have all of your materials put away and you should be sitting in front of me on the carpet. One…”
I watch teachers give marginal instructions to children and then get exasperated when the students don’t immediately comply. Unclear expectations can lead to chaos and inappropriate behavior. Current research tells us that children often misbehave because they don’t know what is expected (even though the teacher may think they know how to behave). Also, expectations must continually be reinforced and repeated. I often ask my students, “Why are there speed limit signs on the freeway?” Because, we ALL need continual reminders about expectations.
Clear expectations and follow-through have always been key factors in creating a positive learning environment.

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One response

  1. John,
    I believe so many people will have an “aha” moment when they read this edition of your newsletter. Everyone is so bogged down with day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t realize we aren’t communicating effectively. Children (and adults) don’t tell us. Thanks for reminding us to communicate effectively.

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