Setting Priorities For Students
Make Sure Your Students Understand!!

We need to understand setting priorities for students and their consequences, including verbal and non-verbal communications.

As you know, as a teacher, organization is the vital key to successfully managing your students and your teaching strategies.

We want our students to finish everything. However, when we establish priorities, we need to be aware of what happens when we do.

It's a fact that most priorities are set by teachers. Whether it's academic achievement, homework assignments or classroom management, setting students' priorities is a teacher priority.

With regard to student motivation, when you as a teacher set priorities, you automatically establish values and standards which can increase the value of some student tasks and responsibilities and decrease others. Therefore motivation and productivity may be altered.

If you set a big project as a main priority, your students may stop working on other assignments or if your classroom management is more important than daily assignments, they may think that if they behave appropriately, they will receive a better mark.

Remember, when you set a priority you diminish other assignments. Hence, some students may have completed other tasks and not finished the one that you had made a priority or vice versa. So, some will feel pleased, while others will feel demoralized.

We must think and look closely before setting priorities for students. They will find that you are unfair and feel disappointed and misled when they discover that they were expected to have had everything completed.

Of course, a teacher must establish priorities and are forced to do so. "So much to do and so little time". Hence, here lie the pros and cons. The message communicated by setting priorities for students is clear - some tasks will not get done, so don't be surprised when students fail to complete everything. They are simply fulfilling your expectations.

You know that our objective is to keep students working until the final bell (give or take a few minutes). This means that all work is important and give credit for all work.

If you have given students too much work, make adjustments. Your students will see you as being fair and that you have taken the right course in setting your priorities!

Speaking of priorities, I read this somewhere ... "Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on their deathbed - Gee, if only I'd spend more time at my school!".

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