ARCHIVED—Behaviour Expectations and Curriculum Expectations
Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.
Modern research-based teaching techniques, which have proven to help students excel academically, are often most effective with the struggling learner, says Ron Vandecasteele. Behaviour can be the cue that teachers are not meeting students' learning styles, or providing the supports they need to succeed. For students who succeed, it is obvious that academic success and good behaviour are bound up together.
"When I started applying new approaches in my class, I noticed that it tied right in with all the academic buzzwords: instructional intelligence, teaching by design, differentiated instruction," says Vandecasteele. "I use those academic approaches to bring the kids back into the loop—what I do in terms of helping them feel at home in school merges seamlessly with the academic work."
For example, last year he involved students in differentiating assessment to meet curriculum expectations. "I presented the assignment as, 'These are the expectations that I will mark you on. I have a suggested typical assignment, but I'm leaving it open for you to design your own.'" The students individually came up with their own assignments. "I just marked a variety of cool projects for content and expectations."
Connecting school to real life is another approach that works well with disengaged learners. "A lot of students in any classroom have not connected school to the rest of their lives yet," he explains. "It's just a place they go to every day because they have to." Vandecasteele finds ways to fit life challenges they are facing into the curriculum—challenges such as making and following a budget and managing a bank account using technology in ongoing simulations—and they begin to see the connection. (See also, "Making it real.") Once that connection is made, students begin to take ownership of their own learning, setting goals and objectives to get into the future career of their dreams.