Aligning student and teacher expectations

When the expectations of teachers differ from the expectations of students, the teaching experience and the learning process are compromised.  It is important for teachers to understand their own thoughts about teaching, and that student expectations for enrolment on the course may be different. Therefore to achieve the intended outcomes of each party, activities must be aligned to engage and inspire active learning.

Biggs & Tang (2011) explore three levels of what teachers think about teaching, depending upon what is seen as the main determinant of learning. These include:

  • Level 1: What students are – Where the teacher's role is to display information and the students absorb it. If the students do not have the ability or motivation to do that, then the issue is theirs.
  • Level 2: What teachers do – Where the focus is on the skills, techniques or competencies of the teacher and what they do and how they demonstrate their knowledge.
  • Level 3: What students do – Where the focus is on the students and how they are engaging with the learning activities and achieving of intended outcomes.

Below are three short videos that demonstrate the use of constructive alignment at a higher educational institution. This visual representation delivers a foundation for understanding what a teacher needs to do in order to ensure all types of students have an opportunity to learn what is intended, through constructive alignment – the construction of learning tasks aligned with intended learning outcomes.

Video resources

Further information and resources