What is Expected and Unexpected Behaviours?

In whatever situation we find ourselves in, it’s generally accepted that there are a few unwritten rules. That is, there are expected and unexpected behaviors. For instance, if you’re in a library, you must remain quiet. But, conversely, making a lot of noise, or eating a lot of smelly food, would probably be unexpected. In any case, it would be unwanted!

Sounds easy, right? Well, not for everyone. For some children, picking up on socially acceptable behavior is harder than it is for others. And what’s more, there are some situations where the rules aren’t that clear. Thankfully, concepts like the one you’re reading about help make things easier to understand.

What does this mean in the classroom?

In the classroom, as with anywhere else, you might be, there are a few rules that everyone has to obey. We hesitate to call them “unwritten” because there’s a good chance they’re already on your classroom wall! Just in case they aren’t, here are a few that you might want to include somewhere:

Expected Unexpected
  • Staying at your table
  • Sitting straight and upright
  • Keeping your feet on the floor
  • Looking at the teacher when they’re talking
  • Raising your hand before speaking
  • Listening to what people have to say
  • Waiting your turn to speak
  • Moving around the classroom during activities
  • Putting your feet on the chair or table
  • Talking over the teacher
  • Distracting others
  • Making lots of noise
  • Interrupting people
  • Not listening to the people talking

Of course, you could always add and remove a few rules to suit your teaching needs and the needs of the children in your class.

How do concepts like this help?

A lot of the time, what’s appropriate in one situation isn’t always fit in another. For instance, though it’s a bad idea for anyone to start shouting in the classroom (teachers included!), it might be encouraged at a school soccer match. We typically talk about behavior as either good or bad, which can be confusing if faced with a contradiction like this. Instead, talking about what’s expected can make things easier.

Where do I start?

If you’d like to use concepts like this in your home or classroom but you’re wondering where to begin, then here are a few things you might want to bear in mind:

Talk things through

As with most behavior-related, a good place to start is by chatting with your class or child. Try asking them whether they noticed anything unexpected in your classroom recently and how this affected their learning. If you’re having difficulty getting them to open up, you might want to try talking about some of your unexpected behaviors. No one’s perfect, after all!

When you go to new places or do new things, you can talk to the child about the expected behaviors within this environment. It will help to avoid any confusion and will help the child to understand how they should behave.

Watch a video

With all the videos, there’s surely one good for teaching kids about behavior. Surely? If you’re having trouble, you might want to try looking for something involving situational comedy. That is, people act strangely in familiar situations. We hope that narrows things down a bit.

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