How do you provide consistent patterns and rules that support the learning of all students? Are you able to set high expectations and balance clear guidelines to success with student choice and flexibility?

Classroom management heavily depends on setting clear expectations, dedicating time for questions and discussion about the expectations, and checking for understanding of the expectations. This includes setting expectations explicitly (that is, through instructions, policies, and articulated values) and implicitly (through course structure).

Setting Explicit Expectations

Some expectations must be clearly articulated, including assignment expectations, instructions, rules of engagement, and behavioral expectations.

  • Consider establishing shared values with your students at the beginning of the semester, and setting clear expectations for an inclusive environment (an important aspect of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging)
  • Based on these shared values, establish clear rules of respectful engagement and discourse in the classroom
  • Make sure your syllabus clearly describes course outcomes, policies, how to successfully navigate the course, the grading scheme, and the course schedule, as well as all official Champlain syllabus requirements (see the syllabus requirements)
  • Communicate clear expectations for every assignment, including how the assignment will be assessed
    • We recommend including clear assignment instructions in all Canvas assignments, along with due dates
    • In your assignment instructions, make sure to include the parameters of what students produce (how long is the paper, how much work should they show in the problem set, etc) and what will be stressed in evaluation, not just the concepts or questions you want them to engage with
  • Continually clarify expectations by providing prompt, constructive feedback
  • Create engaging, inviting, and clear instructions for your students, as described in these slides:

Setting Implicit Expectations

You can also give students reasonable expectations and ensure they can meet your course expectations through built-in structures and learning environments

  • Build your course on a predictable and routine structure in which to be creative
  • Establish clear channels of communication
  • Model inclusive and respectful behavior in the classroom — learn more in Champlain’s Faculty DEI Training
  • Publicize dependable and accessible support structures within and outside of the classroom
  • Allot ample time for successful learning experiences, and ensure appropriate pacing
  • Appropriately vary individual, small and large group learning experiences
  • Arrange the learning space/classroom to align with learning outcomes and tasks
  • Welcome feedback from students — see our resources on Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) and soliciting feedback, including midterm feedback

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