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Expectations for student behaviour

Policy and expectations for student behaviour should be clear and consistent across the department in order that students receive the same learning experience in each class regardless of teacher.

These policies should be known by any teacher who uses the laboratory space. They may include:

  • Entering the lab only when a teacher is present.
  • When eye protection is to be worn and when not.
  • How equipment should be arranged at the end of the lesson.
  • How students should be arranged in the classroom for teacher-led instruction, demonstrations and group work.

Consistency of these approaches enables students to know what the expectations are of their behaviour in the classroom, rather than having to learn different rules for different teachers. A set of clear routines and expectations for practical working will speed up the setup process and therefore allow more time for the desired learning to take place.

Combined with methods for controlling movement in the room, such as designating students to collect equipment, equipment trays or carousel set ups, you can then reduce likely flashpoints of behaviour.


List the policies you have in place within your department for teaching and learning in the lab environment.

Rank these in order of importance and explain why you’ve ranked in that way.

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This article is from the free online course:

Managing the Practical Classroom in Secondary School Science

National STEM Learning Centre