Module Four: Promoting Successful Academic Behavior in the High School Setting for K-12
What are the objectives of this module?
Diversity in the Classroom
The student population in schools in America is diverse and the prediction is “by 2020, almost half of the U.S. school population will consist of members of non-Caucasian cultural groups." (Kauchak, p. 85) The high school classroom is represented by a cross section of many ethnicities, races, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, cultures and abilities.  Promoting and attaining a climate of high academic and social behaviors is a challenge for teachers  A few key elements established early in the classroom can provide a structure for developing a successful classroom environment. 
What Are Some of the Key Components for Establishing an Academic Classroom Culture?

Educational research contains empirical evidence on ways for building a positive academic culture in the classroom. High schools must promote student self-discipline and prepare them for a variety of future environments.  Student learning is enhanced as is the students’ ability to prosper in future endeavors when they are nurtured by a learning community in their classrooms.  A learning community places the teacher as the facilitator of the learning and the students in an interdependent environment. Suggestions from the literature include some of the following elements:

  • Develop rapport with supportive and caring relationships with and among students
  • Encourage students through affirmation, positive comments, and praise for their academic efforts
  • Provide a classroom structure that develops routines, norms,  and organizes the academic environment in  ways that optimizes student learning
  • Implement collaborative group and individual task management methods that highly engage students in academic tasks
  • Use suitable behavior interventions to guide students who may be experiencing behavior problems

(Akin-Little, K. A., Eckert, T. L., Lovett, B. J., & Little, S. G. (2004),  Brophy, J.  (2006), Evertson, C. M., & Weinstein, C. S.  (2006), Hawkins, S. M., & Heflin, L. J. (2011), Kratochwill, T., (2011), Reeve, J.  (2006) 

The Importance of Positive Relationships
All learning begins with a relationship first.  Students must know that they are with a teacher who cares about them.  It is important for teachers to know that they cannot be friends with their students; they are their adult mentor. Developing rapport with students is essential in the learning process.  It is common for students to behave differently in their various classes.  Often they will tell you it is because they know the teacher cares and respects them and therefore they will act accordingly in their classroom.

Here are five straightforward remarks that correlate with effective student learning:
  1. Students in this class treat the teacher with respect.
  2. My classmates behave the way my teacher wants them to.
  3. Our class stays busy and doesn’t waste time.
  4. In this class, we learn a lot almost every day.
  5. In this class, we learn to correct our mistakes.
Academic Behavior in Online Courses
While the online classroom in high school is not the same as a face-to-face one, it can still provide many of the same elements found in the face-to-face classroom by providing for a community of learners. High school students appreciate the flexibility of online instruction and may be comfortable with some of the solitary aspects of online learning. Online learning, however, can be isolating and for high school students that can be particularly problematic. Developing an online learning community for high school should include opportunities for students to participate in discussions, view video clips, create project-based learning assignments, work with others, and communicate effectively with their peers. The asynchronous learning environment is not the standard method for delivery of instruction in high school. According to the most recent data from Project Tomorrow's 2010 Speak Up Survey, more than one-quarter (27 percent) of all high school students took at least one online class in 2010 (
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