The best time to set expectations is at the start of the course as you and the students are getting to know each other. Consider the following strategies:

  • Make behavioral and academic expectations clear in your syllabus.
  • Use positive, constructive language, not threats of reprisal.
  • Ask your students to work in groups on the first day to develop classroom rules (this page provides additional suggestions for setting ground rules).
  • Talk about yourself and let the students know what you value.
  • Learn your students’ names and learn more about them.
  • Encourage students to see learning as a process, and to see how your course fits into their larger learning goals. In “First-Day Questions for the Learner-Centered Classroom“, Gary A. Smith suggests an activity that can increase student buy-in from Day One by getting them to think about the value to them of the work you are asking them to do.
  • Be alert for possible mismatched expectations.
  • Have students complete a knowledge survey to see what they already know about the topics to be covered (or remember from prerequisite courses).

For additional tips, see the following links: