Behavioral Tips from Randy Sprick

Positive Expectations

Research has repeatedly demonstrated that when teachers hold low expectations for an individual student or a group of students, those students will achieve less than if the teacher has high expectations. Therefore, it is crucial for you to have and convey high expectations for all of your students in terms of their academic achievement and their ability to behave responsibly.

The first step in ensuring that you have positive expectations for all students is to honestly and objectively consider the kinds of things you think to yourself and/or say to others about students. Whether or not you make disparaging remarks directly to students, if you let yourself think or talk about students in unproductive ways, you will be communicating low expectations.

Statements that indicate you have low expectations for your students include:

If you find that you have such thoughts or are making such statements to others, you need to put a stop to them. Try to identify specific alternate phrases that you can use. When you begin to think or speak negatively, force yourself to substitute a more positive way of thinking or speaking.

Implement the following suggestions to establish and maintain positive attitudes and expectations toward your students:

It isn't enough to simply avoid having and/or communicating negative expectations about students. Make a conscious effort to actively communicate high positive expectations to your students. Share your Guidelines for Success and tell students that you know they can achieve those guidelines. Frequently remind students that they are capable of achieving any goal they set their minds to. Remember to treat all students with dignity and respect and interact with students in a friendly manner.

— Excerpt from CHAMPs: A Proactive and Positive Approach to Classroom Management