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Routines you expect students to follow

Learners need to have your expectations for learning clearly explained and displayed prominently.


It is not sufficient to assume or expect that students know how to behave for you. To manage and improve behaviour you need to teach it. Don’t allow your students to guess the rules for each activity or to simply adopt the same behaviours as they do in other subjects. The routines for teaching and learning in a STEM classroom are different and must be practiced. When the rules for each type of activity (watching a demonstration, silent independent work, packing away at the end) are clear to everyone, then the boundaries for conduct are properly set.

When you watch an experienced teacher working in a STEM teaching space the routines are initiated, reinforced and corrected so subtly that it seems effortless. It takes time to teach the routines. They start off as checklists that are run through laboriously before each new activity but when the students have learned them well the signs disappear, the acknowledgement becomes discreet and a routine becomes automated.


Your routines

Spend five minutes to write down all the formal routines you expect learners to follow. e.g. Answering registers, watching a demonstration, peer assessment feedback, operating heavy equipment (e.g. cutting tools)

Then spend five minutes writing down all the informal routines you expect. e.g. Packing away equipment from experiments, staying safe in the workshop, asking for permission to leave the room,

NB: If you are a more experienced teacher, you might like to think about refining existing routines and raising the expectations for each. Which routines have lapsed, which are not as tight as they used to be, which routines have been worn down?

Which new routines do your students urgently need to learn?

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing Behaviour for Learning

National STEM Learning Centre