Susan Riley | August 2017

7 Hints for Teaching Expected Behaviors

The beginning of the school year is often all about classroom management.  Teaching expected behaviors is a huge step in setting yourself up for a smooth year ahead.  By teaching our students what behaviors we wish to see, they are better able to work towards those expectations.

In our brand-new online class, Managing an Arts-Integrated Classroom, instructor Amanda Koonlaba shared 7 hints that make teaching expected behaviors a cinch.  These ideas are designed to help provide students with responsibility for their learning and create a respectful classroom environment.  Both of which are extremely important when you’re working with a hands-on approach like arts integration!

Top 7 Hints for Your Classroom


Many times, we think we’re being clear but our students think otherwise.  One easy way to make sure you’re providing clarity is to ask students to repeat back what they THINK you said.


My students love it when I demonstrate what not to do.  They think it’s hilarious and it immediately builds a level of trust between us.  But more importantly, they can see with their own eyes what misbehavior looks like and they won’t have to guess.


Share with students why it’s important to follow the expected behaviors.  Students will “buy in” if they know why and how something is important.  And don’t forget to make that communication exciting – share a video, a photograph, a poster that they can easily reference.


Now, this one might stir up some mixed emotions, but hear me out.  This is not about discipline or being mean to kids.  It’s about being the adult.  It’s your classroom and you are in charge.  This is about safety and support.  Dominance is your ability to provide clear purpose and strong guidance regarding both academics and student behavior.


Assertive is not the same thing as aggressive. Assertiveness is simply stating what we need or want from students at any given time.  It’s not yelling and it’s not disrespectful.  It’s using our body language, tone and expression to communicate our expectations.


Be sure to provide feedback that is immediate, varied and meaningful.  This provides students with an understanding of what they are doing well and what needs to be improved.


We all need to practice as a community when it comes to classroom management.  Always be working on your expected behaviors and be consistent with your communication.  The more we practice, the better we get.

Hopefully, these tips will help make your school year the best one yet.  And if you found these helpful, definitely check out Amanda’s course on Classroom Management.  You’ll even find the video lesson she did on this topic, along with the downloadable slidedeck and cheat sheet available on the course description page.  Here’s to you and a positive year ahead!

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan