Should Syllabi Communicate Expectations Regarding Appropriate Classroom Behaviors?

Richard Wesp, Maryanne Kash, Joshua Sandry, Lanae Patton

Abstract


We considered how accurately students predicted their instructor’s expectations regarding appropriate classroom behaviors.  Our intent was to demonstrate that expectations vary across instructors, and that students are often unaware of their instructor’s personal standards for classroom behavior.  To this end, on a class-by-class basis, we evaluated how well students in 8 undergraduate Psychology classes estimated how irritated their instructor would be about several student behaviors within the classroom.  We demonstrated that students frequently failed to accurately predict their instructor’s expectations and also that instructors differed in expectations regarding appropriate classroom behavior.  Findings support prior speculation that instructors hold no commonly agreed upon standards for classroom behaviors.  Since instructors differ in expectations, students cannot rely on an assumed universal set of rules that define appropriate classroom behavior.  Given the potential for misunderstanding we recommend that instructors clarify their classroom expectations in the syllabus.

Keywords: college students, classroom behavior, classroom management, individual differences, classroom interactions; communication; syllabus

Keywords


communication; syllabus

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ISSN 2163-3177

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