A teacher’s Language of Practice on the first day sets the tone, provides direction, and conveys high expectations of what is to come. What will setting high expectations “sound like” in your classroom? What Best Practice Language (BPL) can a teacher use to set high expectations for ALL students? The high expectations teachers convey to all their students can propel each of them closer to reaching their potential.
Words of High Expectations demonstrate a belief in every student’s ability to meet the highest levels of personal conduct and academic success. Words of High Expectations resist low expectations and prejudgments and help students envision and pursue their best!
“This year we are going to be learning some difficult things, but I am excited about helping each of you learn as much as you can. Even if you think you can’t learn in my classroom I am going to work hard to help you do your best!”
“In our classroom we want to establish a climate where no one feels embarrassed to share. We will work together to respect each other’s opinions and thoughts. We are not always going to agree, but when we have disagreements we owe each other respect.”
What if these high expectations are presented without encouragement and clear direction? Sometimes students hear high expectations but don’t have a personal map or the tools to get there. Telling students “you can do anything you set your mind to” can be confusing for a student who has never experienced success or who has a discipline folder full of past mistakes. This confusion can be addressed with a consistent language that offers real hope with real guidance.
The following BPL examples offer words that teachers have used on their first day of school to set high expectations for both students and themselves. Within these language examples you’ll also find words of encouragement, grace, guidance, and hope, which can provide the support your students need to reach their potential.
Words of Encouragement
“At some point this year, you will face a challenge with something—maybe reading, maybe math, maybe a classmate…I promise to give you the encouragement, guidance and support that you need to understand and overcome these challenges!”
Words of Grace
“The ‘not so good’ things you did in the past don’t have to affect what you do this year…we are all going to get off to a fresh start!”
Words of Guidance
“We all make mistakes. Everyone in this class—including me—will do something that causes us to feel embarrassed. Let’s promise not to make fun of others when this happens and make it worse for them. Let’s also promise if we feel embarrassed that we won’t let it keep us down or cause us to act out.”
Words of Hope
“I am going to do my best to make learning as interesting and enjoyable as possible. Coming to our classroom every day will be like going on an adventure where you will be learning new things and discovering the best you have to offer this world.”
This post is part one in a series of posts on what Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) “sounds like” in the classroom. The original post can be found at: eyeoneducation.com