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Course Syllabus as a Classroom Management Tool

Updated: Feb 22

Course syllabi are not just for higher-ed courses. They most certainly can be brought into the teachers classroom as a means of sharing information to students. Even for the little ones, parents love receiving a class-syllabus.

A syllabus does not have to be complex or detailed with every learning objective listed beforehand. But, a solid syllabus is a great way to outline the expectations, goals and policies for the class. It also sets its tone and structure.

Imagine if every teacher in your school used a syllabus to outline expectations. Imagine if they gathered in their PLC to outline common norms and expectations between classes and then customized the syllabus to fit their needs. Talk about common messaging!

It is never too late to introduce a class syllabus. If teachers don’t introduce one at the beginning of the year, they can always bring one in at the end of a unit, or when coming back from a holiday or weekend. I met with a teacher not too long ago who felt like her class needed a reset. After the Thanksgiving break, she reviewed the syllabus with her 4th graders and sent it home for parents to sign.

As a tip, teachers should let students and parents know that the syllabus is subject to change, but that any changes will be communicated to them.

Possible information to include in a course syllabus:

  1. Class information: The class name, the teacher’s name, the grade, the school name, and the academic term or semester.

  2. Outline the course goals and objectives: Clearly state what students can expect to learn in the class and what skills they will develop.

  3. Describe the class structure: Include information on the number of units or modules in the course, the number of classes per week, and any special class requirements (such as labs or field trips).

  4. Explain the class policies: This should include information on attendance, tardiness, academic honesty, and any other important policies.

  5. Provide details on class materials: This should include a list of required texts, materials, or equipment that students will need.

  6. Outline the grading policies: Clearly state how grades will be calculated, including the percentage weight of different types of assignments and assessments.

  7. Include a schedule: Provide a tentative schedule of class topics and assignments for the semester or even the entire course.

  8. Make contact information available: Provide your office hours or preferred availability and email address so that students know how to reach you with questions or concerns.

Decide as an administration what should be on the syllabus and then let teachers tailor it to fit their classroom needs and goals.


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