Teach, Model, and Reinforce Expectations

Are you noticing a gap between your expectations and students’ classroom behavior? Is that gap widening as the year goes along?

If so, it might be time to revisit PCM #9 Teach, Model, and Reinforce Behavior Expectations

Teaching behavior expectations is pretty much a given at the beginning of each school year, but it’s also helpful to choose hot spots during the year to reiterate your expectations and reinforce students who do it well.

Some obvious optimal times to do this are the beginning of the year, the first week in January and after Spring Break, but modeling appropriate behavioral expectations can come at any time you feel there is a need for a refresher!

KMS Behavior Expectations

It is recommended to establish between 3-5 behavioral expectations. Here at KMS, we follow the “4Rs” as our school wide system. 

  • Responsibility
  • Resiliency
  • Respect
  • Relationships

After gathering input from teachers and students, we have recently created bullet lists for each one, to better clarify just what following each “R” looks like in the classroom.

In 2017, we added specific matrices for different areas on campus, to reflect different expectations in those locations (library, cafeteria, and common areas).

Updated signs are posted in all classrooms so that we establish a common working definition of the 4Rs for students, and a common language by which to refer to each one, by all teachers and students.

Effective Ways to Teach Expecations

Creating a common language surrounding your expectations is good. However, teaching behavior expectations should go further than discussing them a few times per year and hanging up posters. The most effective method is to teach expectations in the same way that we know students really learn — with models and repetition and reinforcement (since even in middle school, kids are kids and they forget).

Some tips:

  • Teach expectations overtly, and model what it looks like on a regular basis, either yourself, or when you “catch students being good”
  • Cue students visually to prompt the behavior you are looking for.
  • Reinforce students with positive behavior support when they exhibit following your behavioral expectations properly.
  • Follow the behaviors yourself (because you know all eyes are always on you)!

Being a role model in front of over a hundred kids a day can be daunting, but the fact is, we know our students are observing us all the time. What a wonderful opportunity to show them appropriate behavior in a proactive, positive way, and reinforce them when we see it in action!

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