10 Best Ways on How to Set High Expectations for Students

“I am happy to be your teacher!”

This is a meaningful message I  give my students.  I love being their teacher!  I let them know that I understand their sadness, happiness, and fears! This brings about great enthusiasm to learn because they know that their efforts are best appreciated. Most importantly, this gives me a lovely thought of how to set high expectations for students.

setting high expectations for students

“Let’s soar high!”  “You are amazing” As much as we want our students to soar high, we must as well equip ourselves with authentic ways on how to set high expectations for students!

Showing the students that we appreciate their best efforts is one of the best ways to establish good relationships.  By taking into account the growth status of our students, we might as well be guided in setting high expectations for them.

However, there’s more we can do as the managers in the classroom and facilitators of learning to set standards in the classroom so we and our students know the patterns of how we should treat one another.


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Take More Bits of Teaching to Be at Our Best!

In a recent post, I tried to display the qualities of great teachers and their ways to motivate young learners to make their learning experiences in school really productive.

Today, I wish to consider matters concerning the center of the educational process to be added to our vignette of teaching. Dealing with ways on how to set expectations for students will cater to the full development of the students in school.

Would you agree with me if I say that most of us teachers assume that we have set clear and high expectations for students; however, as we noticed, it seems to be poorly practiced in our classroom. Undeniably, for the success of education and for continually providing our students access to quality education,  setting high expectations for students is very important.

Starting the school year with high expectations for our learners will make them strive to maintain livable classrooms with full opportunities to learn. This will help us and our students work out throughout the year.

Why is setting expectations for learners essential to teaching?

Researchers emphasize the importance of having high expectations for students as a means of guiding the learners of what specific standards of behavior and academic preferences they should manifest in the classroom. Notably, the high expectations teachers set will communicate clear patterns of behavior that will surely influence the student’s perception of learning.

This entails a more organized learning scenario and makes the classroom a conducive place to learn. Moreover,  it caters more to classroom management and knowing school expectations as it directly concerns the growth of individual learners.

As a teacher, I have always set high expectations for all my students from the very beginning. It should not be only for a chosen few. If I settle for low expectations for some of my students, I am depriving them of their right to have high-quality learning.

I believe that each of my students has certain skills and capabilities. This optimism makes me carry out everyday lessons with the strong belief that my students will be working hard to achieve the parameters of expectations.

I make sure my expectations are reasonable. The bars may be high but that’s the way it should be. After all, I might be in control of my classroom but my students always take the crucial role of fulfilling the set expectations.

Teachers on Providing Access to Quality Education

In our quest for high-quality education, we have probably sought ways to increase students’ performance and to achieve realistic and behavioral goals for our students. As teachers, we have to set standards that will guide our students so they will be more productive in their journey.

At the outset of my teaching career, my goal was to bring a positive impact on my student’s life. And today, it has always been my driving force to do my best as a teacher. Despite the challenges, I always strive to provide the best instructional strategies that my students deserve.

We should not assume that it’s what students can do and that it’s impossible to go beyond that line. By providing them varied learning experiences, they are more encouraged to perform well and to increase self-awareness and confidence. If our expectations are low, how can we help our students excel and maximize their fullest potential?

Our students can always do their best. Elsewhere, if we accept less from our students, they are not challenged to do more and to perform better.  With low expectations, our students will find it difficult to catch up on their personal and academic lives.

On Academic and Behavioral Expectations

How do we set high academic and student behavioral expectations? When I became a full-fledged teacher, I often heard the importance of setting consistent behavior expectations to scaffold high academic expectations for students. It should be in the student’s behavior and attitude first.

By and by, as I go along with my teaching career, I can perceive its essence. Through my observations, I assume that one of the pitfalls in teaching is by instilling disciplinary consequences negatively. Students will tend to lose their balance and their interests easily fade.

How do you imagine a student being criticized for not meeting behavior expectations? He/she will lose confidence when being assigned to a disciplinary consequence. As a result, the student will lose focus and attention. His or her willful disobedience will weaken his/her focus even more.

For me, as a teacher,  I can do my best in helping my students develop good behavioral patterns through my best instructional practices. All things should begin with me being their teacher. I feel the great need to always consider them. Yes, I do have my best standards but it will work best if it caters to my student’s strengths and weaknesses.

Students- Center of the Teaching-learning Process

The students are the center of the educational process. It is a manifestation that we are now in a gigantic transition of the teaching-learning process.

Therefore, as teachers, we should be consistent with our learning goals and standards. When we plan our classroom activities especially at the beginning of classes, we have to set the directions that our students should follow.

One key ingredient to having a successful teaching career is to acknowledge the role of learners in the educational process.  Properly implemented, we teachers will surely enjoy doing our work and will carry out teaching ideals in our journey for a lifetime.

At the onset of classes, how do you want your students to behave in your class at all times? As a teacher, what are your academic standards for your students? What about their behavior? Are you able to set the bar at the beginning of the school year?

On my end, I have certain standards or expectations on my list that I re-evaluate from time to time so it would be easy for me to gauge reasonable and consistent expectations for my learners. In other words, I am open to making modifications to expectations.

Why is Setting High Expectations a Tool for Success?

My students and I are friends. I expect them to be open to all learning activities without hesitation. They love it when I feel their happiness and sadness. Consequently, they openly display not only their best talents and creativity but also their genuine trust in my teaching skills.

As I set high expectations, I help my students discover their strengths and acknowledge the realms of their weaknesses. Most importantly, they are confident with their actions even though they are left to themselves because they know from the start what I expect from them.

The high expectations I set for them serve as their guides on how they should behave and why they should strive hard for optimum learning. I am not micro-managing them. They hate it and I feel it. They love independence when it comes to performing learning activities.

That is why I raise expectations for both in academics and on their behavioral patterns so my students will know what they should do even though I am not watching them.

This is a vivid example of the influential power of teachers. We always carry in us the good news of helping our students develop a healthy sense of themselves for more hard work in the classroom.

Every child is different. Helping them feel special can make a big difference too. Listen to their concerns and understand their feelings. When we teach new things, it always works to consider their individual differences.

I am going to share with you authentic ways on how to set high academic and behavioral expectations. This can help you kick-start the school year and inspire your learners to become more productive. These authentic methods will clearly display the relevance of behavioral and academic expectations.

To unlock the enormous capabilities of our learners through creating high expectations, watch the video below.

10 Best Ways on How to Set High Expectations for Students

How to Set Behavioral Expectations?

Behavioral expectations are a general set of goals that will serve as guidelines to promote appropriate behavior for our students.  For our young learners to understand clearly what is expected of them, we teachers should establish behavior expectations.

Do you have them on the walls of your classroom? Have you explained your expectations to them? For the overall classroom behavior management system, our students should understand the depths of behavioral standards. Our classroom rules should be explicitly explained to our students for desirable results.

For me, the behavior of the students is one of the major aspects that directly affect their academic preferences. Hence, I find it really necessary to discuss with you first a sneak-peak of my ways of setting behavioral expectations for my students.

1. Reflect Values in Every Way

I understand the concept that good values are not taught but learned. However, as a teacher, I deem it necessary to portray order in the classroom. As for me, my students will learn best in a peaceful and orderly setting. No, I am not being strict. I just want to impose discipline in a subtle manner.

I am trying to influence my student’s behavior by instilling good values. By making sure that the behavioral expectations are clear and positively stated, I am confident that my students don’t feel being suffocated and that things are being natural and concise.

For example, instead of just saying ‘be responsible’ to your students. It’s always best to clearly define the ways of being responsible in a particular setting. By giving brief descriptions on how to achieve ways of being responsible across school settings, the students will be guided very well.

2. Know the Importance of Establishing Behavioral Expectations

If you are a beginning teacher, it always helps to clearly understand why it is important to establish behavioral expectations right from the start so you will not be caught off guard as you go along. Teaching doesn’t only mean mastering content and teaching it to students.

As you can see, each of your students in the classroom has a definite personality. With a wide range of personalities in front of us, it’s always good to have a pattern to cater to them all.  Having set behavioral expectations, our students will be guided accordingly and in a manner teach them how to appropriately behave in different settings.

Make visible presentations of precise behavioral expectations. Have a list of them visible to your students so they know what is expected of them for a safer learning environment.

3. Make Use of Visual Reminders of Behavioral Expectations

Young learners will understand and remember well if they visualize clearly what is expected of them. Through a creative display of posters of behavioral expectations on your classroom bulletin boards, your students will be more likely to imitate them.

It is of helpful stance especially in dealing with our young learners in elementary where they are in the process of building a strong foundation of good values and behavior.

By putting up interactive visual reminders on my bulletin boards, I am encouraging my students to get hold of desired behavioral expectations. I feel it is really necessary especially in teaching children from a very early age.

They should be carefully taught the basics so they will carry them out in their future endeavors. For example, I want to embed the value of punctuality. For me, it isn’t enough to post on walls “Be on time” or “Be punctual”. It should be made clear to them how to value time and why is it important.

Moreover, students should be guided very well in dealing with their classmates to avoid a clash of interests and misunderstandings. As I see it in my class, students display happiness if they like their learning environment. If their classmates display the value of kindness, they are more likely to participate in class discussions.

Encouraging positive social behavior will have a ripple effect on the personality of the child. Most importantly, if it’s embedded in their personhood they tend to exude a spirit of positivism towards their classmates that brings about kindness and understanding. This will make a happy child in a happy classroom.

How to Set High Academic Expectations for Learners?

Academic expectations refer to high educational standards for all students in the classroom. Making this clear to our students is necessary to help them make educational academic achievements. Here are some of the ways on how to set high academic expectations for our learners. Read on and be determined to never stop motivating your learners to achieve expectations.

4. Always Be Consistent with Behavioral Expectations

Consistency in establishing high expectations is very necessary. To carry out lessons every day, I make it a point to identify values to be developed by stating them clearly in the learning objectives. The affective part of the objectives should be given careful thought.

For, no matter how sound the skills and knowledge are in your goals if the affective side is not being emphasized, still, the spectrum for productive learning isn’t visible. The affective part of the lesson should be clearly emphasized in all the parts. It should begin with how to be positive as a student and how to be on time in class and in the submission of outputs.

5. Promote a Positive Learning Environment

Imagine you are in your class and your students are restless. They don’t feel like learning. They are in a negative spell!  What’s the most practical way of motivating them? What gets them excited?

As teachers, we always want our students to be active participants. Therefore, let’s work equally hard to promote a positive learning environment. Keeping our students engaged and always on track poses a great challenge on our part as teachers. However, if we are that decisive to promote productive learning among our students, the most authentic way is very handy!

promoting positive learning environment

Aside from making my classroom conducive to learning, I am always conscious of my instructional practices. I always consider the best ways of motivating my students so I always bring them closer to the academic expectations being set for them.

My actions always insinuate that I believe in their capacities and that I value their efforts and expertise. It will be quite impossible for an unmotivated learner to achieve expectations

By promoting a mindset of growth in my students, I am providing them opportunities to improve themselves. My students are made to acknowledge their abilities and talents through my support and positive attitude in dealing with their differences.

I always believe that I am in a perfect position to motivate my students to be at their best. By cultivating a culture of hard work and self-worth, my students are never afraid to fail. They never see failures as the end of things but as important parts of getting successful.

6. Set Clear Achievable Goals in the Classroom

Are you and your students in the same boat? If we are truly to achieve the desired learning goals, then we have to make clear to our students what is expected of them. It will set clear dimensions in the classroom.

By reflecting on how to effectively set goals, we will be able to reach out to each of our students. I believe that goal setting doesn’t just need our skillful attributes but it requires deep reflection. How to make our students learn important life skills? What are our ways of conversing with them? Will these learning goals help us understand our student’s academic standing?

They should be given clear and direct instructions as to how they should do things. As we see, most of our students do this. Before they become independent learners, they have to receive first our willful guidance through our best facilitating skills.

As with my experience, my students often achieve desirable results after I have set guiding rules. My direct instructions cleared the way. My students are more certain of their actions. My actions don’t make them less independent learners. Instead, the specifics make them confident in doing things as they should be.

Even though I am giving my students freedom for independent learning, it is always to set guiding rules on how they do things particularly. I find it useful especially when I am introducing a new skill or competency to be mastered.

I remember when I was still an elementary pupil, our grade 5 teachers would often instruct us how to line ourselves when we walk the school corridors for outside activities. I really loved it when our teacher gave instructions right from the beginning because we knew specifically what to do. Furthermore, I sensed great discipline and order.

7. Encourage your learners to strive for progress, not perfection.

Never look for perfection in your classroom but always do your best as a teacher, to create a predictable learning environment. As students display their eagerness to learn, their progress is within reach.

I always say encouraging words to my students. When I work with them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, they feel so accepted. This will make them more confident to work hard. By having them believe in their own potentials, they will work harder and get even more motivated. They will be more persistent to achieve the high expectations being set for them.

8. Tap on Best Teaching Practices

If you are a new teacher, always find time to apply the best teaching practices of effective teachers. Their first-hand experiences are really exceptional and are worth sharing. Read about them and listen to their views.

Primarily, our ways of handling students have a direct effect on our students’ performance and generally on their life. As we set high expectations for our students, as teachers, we also set high expectations for our teaching practices.

I often ask exceptional teachers around me for help. For me, it never makes me feel inferior, instead, it makes me feel empowered to enhance student learning. It is in a sense helping me improve my professional practice.

9. Focus on Effort

When our students are trying their best, that is already a fair price for our patience and effort. Our students may not be able to perfect things but their efforts are already worth it.

In essence, we have to accept that not all our students are fast learners and achievers. Some of them may not meet the high expectations being set but their means of doing things and their eagerness to learn best compensate for excellence.

10. Provide constructive feedback

Our students must know how they are in class. They should know if their presentation is well-done or needs improvement. However, it isn’t that short and simple. It has to be detailed and constructive.

Feedback should give students insights into their performance and their willingness to do better next time.

By encouraging them to do their best, they love to work hard to achieve the set of expectations for them. Praise them for their efforts and hard work.

“I can tell that you have been working hard” “I extremely believe in your potential” “I can see a great improvement” These encouraging words will give them the power to increase their academic performance while enhancing their persevering attitude.  It works well with my students and I presume this will make a difference in your class too.

Bringing Up Rear…

“This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there’s something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me.”

—Maya Angelou

Are you a teacher? 

On what standards do you want your classroom to operate day in and day out? How do you create realities in your classroom?

Let’s project our expectations for our learners! Let us know in the comments what your ways of setting expectations in your classroom are.