Expectations, Directions and Orders

Do you have expectations for others? What about yourself? Do you have expectations for yourself? Do others place expectations on you? Do you have directions or orders to accomplish?

Exactly what are the differences? How do you handle these as a leader, staff member, parent, and student?

During the 1960s experiment known as “Pygmalion in the Classroom,” teachers were told that certain students demonstrated test results that showed they were about to make significant gains in IQ in the next several months.

However, students were selected randomly. Several months later, the students were retested. The students were chosen randomly, and the teachers who were told of their potential unusual progress significantly outpaced a matched group of students who had not been labeled as ready to make remarkable growth. The only difference between the two groups was the expectations of their teachers. Notably, the “Pygmalion in the Classroom” experiment has been replicated multiple times with similar outcomes. Teacher expectations matter to student learning.

The “Pygmalion effect” usually refers to the fact that people, often children, students, or employees, turn to live up to what's expected of them, and they tend to do better when treated as if they are capable of success(Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Directions and Orders

As teachers, we provide directions to our students by instructing them on new skills, information, projects, and learning opportunities. These directions are instructions but never confused with orders. An order is a command.

Directions and orders can be confusing if presented in different ways. The listening ear wants to hear the facilitator's recommendations and guide in learning. Students do not want to listen to the orders to complete or perform a task. “Put that pencil away now.” “Complete this worksheet now and place it in the basket.”

Staff members do not want to hear the barking of orders to complete tasks but would like to be at the table with input on the directions. It is in the delivery and process which delivers the results we all want to achieve.


I do not know about you, but I have had others in my life place some expectations on me, and I have placed them on myself as well. However, they have not always been positive.

People can influence you in positive and negative ways. When others tell you without their help, you cannot accomplish this goal, it chips away a little of your confidence. Adding to our vocabulary and as a new word to our dictionary “Gaslighting” is something people can do to control others. If they can have this control over you daily for long periods, you begin to believe it. Soon your self-worth is gone. Then if others reinforce it, individuals start to think they cannot achieve it. Looking through history and other countries we can see how “Gaslighting” is done to control large numbers of people.

Students sitting in classrooms right now are experiencing these thoughts and environments. It is different for them today as they live in a world of 24-hour contact availability. They have many options available to them within 24 hours to access them through personal contact, social media platforms, television, music, movies, and so many ways.

It takes others to help correct the negatives in their lives, and the best ones to do this are the teachers they have each day. A great teacher does so much for a child, and the impact they have when they tell a child daily they can, and I believe in you is essential, especially when actions back up the words.

There is another study conducted to understand the impact of high expectations and how we should be using them to help with the educational plans for recovery from the global pandemic.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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