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Practical Application

9 December, 2015 - 15:53
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  • Change class and school rules to expectations (the positive view).
  • Compare the expectations of lower and higher grade levels and ensure there is a consistent increase in expectation as the student matures.
  • Consult faculty, parents, and students in setting expectations.
  • Compare the level of freedoms with the level of expectations. Greater freedoms offer opportunities for higher expectations. In many schools today, sixth-graders have the same freedoms as first-graders. This makes little sense and sets a very low expectation for sixth-graders.
  • Consider your feelings about the students. If you have to choose between sympathy and frustration, choose frustration. Showing students sympathy when they fail teaches them that you expect very little. Frustration, on the other hand, shows the students that you truly believe they can do better.
  • A final consideration for setting high expectations is to be consistent with the school handbook. Perhaps a better way of stating this would be to make sure the student handbook is consistent with your school and classroom expectations. Student handbooks are horrible! They are, for the most part, a long list of infractions, punishments, and fines. They are the product of school lawyers, not caring educators.

Student handbooks are necessary for many reasons. It is essential to have rules and any fines or loss of privileges listed in case of litigation. But this does not have to be the entire handbook. Where is the welcoming, we care about you, the goals we have for you? If we can re-write our negative school and classroom rules into positive expectations, then we certainly can do the same in the handbook. Somewhere between the legal needs of the district and the principal's and teachers' aspirations for the students is the answer. After you have developed your positive student expectations and included them in the school handbook, be sure to consult with the central office to ensure consistency, while meeting necessary legal requirements.

In conclusion for this task, you need to be aware that your expectations are going to change. After teaching problem solving (also decision-making), you will want to increase your expectations as you see the students develop and improve. This is a sign of success. Be sure to include in your expectations that students will be able to solve problems and learn from their experiences. All the others are up to you and your vision for your students.