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Educator's Guide to Preventing and Solving Discipline Problems

by Mark Boynton and Christine Boynton


Communicating Positive Expectations

Research on teacher expectations and student achievement has shown that expectations have a dramatic impact on student academic performance (Kerman, Kimball, & Martin, 1980). Student behavioral performance is also dependent to a large degree on the expectations of significant adults in students' lives. Numerous studies indicate that the expectations teachers have for students tend to become self-fulfilling prophesies. It is therefore critically important for educators to monitor their interactions with the goal of communicating appropriately high behavioral and academic expectations to all students, not just to high achievers.


There are several techniques that can be used to achieve this goal. Monitor the way you call on students. Make sure that you give all students chances to participate in class. Try to increase the amount of time you wait between asking a student a question and moving on by either answering the question yourself or calling on another student. Give students hints and clues to help them succeed in class. Tell students directly that you believe that they have the ability to do well. Your belief in them will inspire their success.


Let's look at some of these techniques for communicating high expectations in more detail and discuss ways to implement these techniques in your classroom.

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