Change contrast:

Teaching for Behavior

School-wide behavioral expectations should be explicitly taught using examples and non-examples specific to each school setting.


Similar to teaching reading, schools explicitly teach the behavioral expectations as they are defined for each school setting. The school leadership team has a process in place to ensure that staff are teaching students to fluency the behavioral expectations needed to be successful in each school setting. When expectations may differ between school, home, and/or the community, the teaching of expectations includes explicitly identifying and teaching the differences along with the reason for the expectation at school while avoiding teaching that behaviors that are inappropriate at school are “wrong” even when the behaviors may be appropriate in other settings.

Create Lesson Plans and a Teaching Schedule

Teaching expectations occurs at the start of each school year. Behavior expectations are also re-taught throughout the school year at predetermined times and as indicated by data. The teaching of school-wide expectations in each setting is done deliberately through lesson plans and a teaching schedule. Schools use the behavioral matrix to guide the development of lesson plans for teaching the expectations.

Lesson Plans

Lesson plans include all of the following critical features:

  • Behavior expectation is clearly defined.
  • Rationale is provided.
  • Examples are provided that fit the general case.
  • Non-examples are provided that are typical of behaviors seen in the setting and not taken to an extreme.
  • Opportunities are available for students to practice the expected behaviors.
  • Acknowledgement is given for expected behaviors.

Expectations are also taught within each individual classroom specific to the routines and procedures of that classroom.

See more about how to re-teach expectations in Review for Behavior

Teaching Schedule

Behavioral expectations are taught following a teaching schedule that typically includes initial instruction at the beginning of each school year and deliberate review and practice throughout the school year.

Prior to the start of each school year, the school-wide expectations, behavioral matrix, and lesson plans are reviewed with the entire staff. The initial teaching of school-wide expectations typically occurs during the first days or week of each school year. For this to take place, time needs to be devoted within the schedule to teach the expectations in each school setting. There are different ways to allocate time for teaching behavioral expectations. Some examples include:

  • Using one of the first few days of school to teach school-wide expectations in each school setting.
  • Teaching expectations over the course of each day of the first week of school.
  • Reviewing expectations each Monday for the first month of school after the initial teaching takes place during the first week.

School leadership teams also plan for when to provide initial teaching of school-wide expectations for when new staff or students and families join the school community.

Page Feedback

Did you find this information useful?