Setting up an Academic Environment with high expectations

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)

Have you ever walked into a classroom expecting students to be prepared and begin learning and instead found them looking at you like you are an alien from another planet for even expecting their rapt attention? Unfortunately, low expectations have become the norm for both teachers and students. Many teachers do not want to fight against the expectations that students have because realigning their thinking is both time consuming and difficult.

However, it can be done!

Students might come into your classroom with expectations of how you are going to act and what they will be expected to do. However, just because they harbor these beliefs does not mean that you have to conform to the mediocracy that has become much of teaching.

How do you do this you ask? By setting up an academic environment from the first day and ALWAYS keeping high expectations. What this means is that you as a teacher have to make a committed effort to be consistent, fair, and firm.

Consistency means that you come into class on the first day of school and assume that learning begins that day. You let students know right away that they might play in other classrooms but not yours. And then you follow through! You do not come to class unprepared (you wouldn’t expect your students to!) .

You instead come with a lesson that begins at the beginning of class and ends at the end. Further, you act the same every day. You might not feel the best or you might be having a bad day because of something going on at home or at work, but you do not change your demeanor or, more importantly, the way you handle discipline problems. If you are not consistent, you will lose all credibility with students and the atmosphere you are trying to create will quickly disintegrate.

Fairness goes hand in hand with consistency. Do not treat kids differently. Sure, you will have personal likes and dislikes for different students, however, never let this bleed into your classroom. If you are unfair, you will quickly lose students who will not trust you. And trust is paramount for an effective academic classroom.

What this means is that you need to help the students understand that what you say is what you mean. And you must also help the students see that you believe in their abilities. Tell the students you know that they can learn what you are teaching, show them by your rapt attention, and then reinforce this by praising authentic achievements.

Which brings up the point: do you really believe that your students can learn? Many teachers have become cynical over time, believing that their students just can’t do it or that their lives get in the way. We are wired to learn! With that said, obviously students need to have completed the prerequisites for a course..

Discipline in your classroom should never be about raised voices and confrontations. It should be about consistent application of established rules. Further, learning will occur in a safe environment if the teacher establishes from the beginning that they will be fair but firm.

We are representatives of our discipline. It is our responsibility to commit ourselves to teaching an academic course of study. It is a sad state that students are surprised when teachers come in and actually expect their students to learn - not just to regurgitate the facts that they read in a text.

However, if we fail to create an academic environment, we leave students with the implicit knowledge that school and therefore learning is not that important or it is for the ‘brains’ of the school and not them.•

News

How Teachers’ Dress Affects Students

The age-old adage of not judging a book by its cover is hopeful in its intent; in reality, however, “covers” create first impressions, and first impressions count. How a person dresses sets a tone, an image, and others react to...

Read more

Teachers‘ Assessment Literacy Enhancement TALE Erasmus+ Final Conference

    ‘Language Assessment Literacy: Theory and Practice’ Date of the conference: 12th May 2018   Keynote Speakers: Prof. Glenn Fulcher, Univ. of Leicester, UK Prof. Guoxing Yu, Univ. of Bristol, UK   Venue: University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus     Scientific Board: Prof. Dina Tsagari, OsloMet, Norway Prof. Dr. Karin Vogt, University of Education, Heidelberg, Germany Dr...

Read more

Simple Ideas To Improve Student Motivation

The best lessons, books, and materials in the world won’t get students excited about learning and willing to work hard if they’re not motivated. Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is a key factor in the success of students at all stages...

Read more

How to help your students develop Reading & Listening skills

The following article refers to the theory, and the practice needed, for developing the Reading and Listening skills effectively. However, before getting into details concerning the two skills it would be helpful to provide a definition to the term ‘skill’...

Read more
ELT NEWS Greece

74, Ag Georgiou St
154 51 - N. Psychico
Tel: +30 210 6712991
Fax: +30 210 6719622
www.eltnews.gr info@eltnews.gr
ELTNEWS Cyprus

3 Vassou Lambrou Street
Kaimakli
1026 Nicosia
Tel: +357-77788785
www.eltnews.eu | info@eltnews.eu
© 2017 ELT NEWS. All Rights Reserved. Designed By ELT NEWS