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Teachers’ standards 1: Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils

The headings on this page are the statements in the Teachers’ Standards that all new teachers must meet. The series of questions for each statement are prompts for new geography teachers to think about. They should use these prompts to discuss their training with their geography mentor and evaluate their progress. These questions are not intended to be a further set of ‘standards’ to be met.


To set high expectations in geography that challenge, motivate and inspire all students, you must do the following:


Establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils, rooted in mutual respect

  • Do I teach engaging lessons which inspire students with a curiosity to find out about the world and motivate them to learn geography?
  • Do I create a positive learning environment and always use language that promotes challenge and aspiration?
  • Do I have a good rapport with individual students and groups and always ensure that students are engaged in geographical learning?
  • Am I respected by students? Do I know if my students enjoy their learning in geography?
  • Do I encourage students to express their points of view and listen to others points of view?
  • Do students feel they can comment in my lessons, and know their ideas will be used constructively?
  • Do I make imaginative use of resources that motivate students to learn geography?
  • Do I teach creatively to capture all students’ imaginations?
  • How do I celebrate students’ achievements?
  • Am I ‘safety aware’? Have I read the school health and safety and risk assessment policies?


Set goals that stretch and challenge pupils of all backgrounds, abilities and dispositions

  • Do I have high expectations and believe that all students have the potential to make progress?
  • Am I committed to raising the achievement of all students?
  • Do I look for ways to improve the wellbeing, motivation and behaviour of students?
  • Do I set goals that challenge and stretch all students, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds?
  • Is my class questioning sufficiently open-ended, allowing sufficient thinking time for all?
  • Do I set tasks that stretch students, but which are achievable?
  • Is my geography classroom a positive learning environment where students are encouraged to try hard, persevere and learn from their mistakes?
  • Do I meet diverse learning needs?
  • Do I cater for individual learning needs and support individual learners in geography lessons?


Demonstrate consistently the positive attitudes, values and behaviour which are expected of pupils

  • Am I a good role model for my students in my attitudes, values and behaviour?
  • Do I always present students with a positive role model?
  • Am I courteous to all to mode the behaviour expected of students?
  • Am I using different teaching styles and do I model ways that students should learn?
  • Do I create a culture of respect and mutual trust in my geography lessons and support all students to succeed?
  • Do I set clear and high expectations for student attitudes, values and behaviour in my geography lessons?
  • Do I generate high levels of enthusiasm, participation and commitment to learning in geography lessons?
  • Do I acknowledge and praise student effort and the progress made?
  • What positive examples of work are visible for students to aspire to?


Where to find support?

For support in achieving this Standard, start with High expectations.

You will also find information in these pages useful:

Think about displaying examples of students’ work around the classroom for students to look at. Discuss setting high expectations in geography with your geography mentor and talk to other geography teachers about how they set high expectations.

Teachers’ standards 1: Set high expectations which inspire, motivate and challenge pupils