Teaching Behavioral Expectations

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Once behavioral expectations for important classroom routines have been determined, they need to be explicitly taught to students using effective instructional, developmentally appropriate, and culturally relevant instruction. 

This process requires the following steps. First, determine what you are trying to achieve in the form of a goal. Then decide when and where you will teach the lesson, knowing it’s best to teach it where the expected behaviors are to occur. Third, create a plan for teaching the behavioral expectations for one important routine using the lesson plan template provided. Teach the lesson and reflect on whether it met your goals. The plan should include these features:

Before Teaching the Lesson

Outcomes/Goals/Purpose (Consider what students will say, demonstrate or do)

Assessment Procedures (Describe data collection procedure to assess how we will know students whether or not students met the outcomes)

Preparation Needed (Describe materials, staff development, etc.)

Teaching the Lesson

  1. Introduction/Rationale (Why this lesson important)

  2. Describe, Model/Demonstrate Examples of the Positive, Expected

  3. Behaviors (Consider the use of child or adult directed role-plays, skits, video modeling, etc. to provide multiple examples of the positive, expected behavior).

  4. Describe, Model/Demonstrate a Non-Example or Close-Confuser  (Show a close approximation of the expected behavior to help students differentiate)
  1. Guided Practice (Provide opportunities for students to practice)

  2. Acknowledgement for Expected Behavior (Describe how students will be recognized/acknowledged when they demonstrate the desired behavior; use specific verbal praise and visible strategies)

  3. Corrective Feedback for Behavioral Errors (Describehow corrective feedback will be provided if students do not display the expected behaviors; remind, reteach, redirect)

  4. Brief Summary (Briefly conclude lesson with quick summary and a positive expectation)

After Teaching the Lesson

Reflection & Assessment of Student Learning: (Summarize data to determine whether your outcomes were achieved, suggestions for improving the plan, and any next steps).

Teachers should develop lesson plans to explicitly teach the important expected behavior for each routine, beginning with those important routines that occur frequently or where problem behavior is most likely to occur. Each teaching plans should be thoughtful, thorough, documented in writing. The systematic teaching of expected behaviors within classroom routines is essential to school success and a cornerstone strategy within systems of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. 

 Image Gallery of School Examples



Classroom Etiquette Independent School District 477 Princeton, MN Public Schools (VIMEO)

Classroom Etiquette - Ryan Pollard Lenk Nyboer Classes from John Beach on Vimeo.

Wicomico High School Video on Active Listening  (VIMEO)


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By Howard Muscott, posted on Saturday January 4, 2014


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