The mission of Great Expectations® is

to motivate, inspire, and challenge individuals

to achieve excellence in learning and living.


The Great Expectations® (GE) teaching/training model is guided by six basic principles (Tenets). These Tenets provide guidelines for program training and implementation and serve as standards for evaluating GE schools/districts. The Tenets are as follows:

(1) High Expectations - Teachers must hold high expectations of students. When students recognize those expectations, they will respond by reaching upward to achieve them. - Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson

(2) Teacher Attitude and Responsibility - Teachers who have positive attitudes possess the influence necessary to shape the attitudes of students. The teacher's attitude is one of a facilitator of learning who encourages and believes in students, and who requires excellence in every detail.  - Haim Ginott, John and Eunice Gilmore

(3) All Children Can Learn - All children can learn no matter what labels are placed upon them, whether it is learning disabled, low socioeconomic status, unstable home life, inner-city, or rural. - William Glasser

(4) Building Self-Esteem - Building self-esteem is the key to helping students believe they are capable of learning and motivating them to try.  - Harris Clemes, Reynold Bean, and Aminah Clark

(5) Climate of Mutual Respect - Students are empowered to take risks necessary for growth when encompassed in a climate of mutual respect in which mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and their ideas and efforts are appreciated. The teacher must extend the same respect to students that he/she desires to receive from them.  - Rensis Likert

(6) Teacher Knowledge and Skill - The teacher must be knowledgeable and skillful in learning theory and teaching methods that enable students to achieve academic and social success.  - Benjamin Bloom




The GE Tenets are further defined by seventeen Classroom Practices that occur in GE classrooms, schools, and districts. Through teachers' use of the GE Classroom Practices, students become self-directed learners, productive citizens, effective communicators, critical thinkers, and cooperative contributors in the classroom as well as in society. These Classroom Practices are explicitly taught to educators during GE methodology training and they are reinforced during elective courses, as well as follow-up training sessions.

  1. Educators and learners model desired behaviors and attitudes such as those set forth in the Life Principles and the Eight Expectations for Living.
  2. Educators and learners speak in complete sentences and address one another by name, demonstrating mutual respect and common courtesy.
  3. Learners are taught thoroughly and to mastery, insuring success for all. Whole group instruction is interwoven with flexible group instruction and individual instruction.
  4. Learning experiences are integrated, related to the real world, reviewed consistently, and connected to subsequent curricula.
  5. Critical thinking skills are taught.
  6. The environment is non-threatening and conducive to risk-taking. Mistakes are viewed as opportunities to learn and grow.
  7. Memory work, recitations, and/or writing occur daily. These enhance character development and effective communication skills while extending curricula.
  8. Enriched vocabulary is evident and is drawn directly from challenging writings, informational text, and/or wisdom literature. 9. The Magic Triad, a positive and caring environment, and discipline with dignity and logic are evident.
  9. The Magic Triad, a positive and caring environment, and discipline with dignity and logic are evident.
  10. Learners’ work is displayed in some form. Positive and timely feedback is provided through oral and/or written commentary.
  11. Word identification skills are used as a foundation for expanding the use of the English language.
  12. Learners assume responsibility for their own behavior. Their choices determine consequences.
  13. A school, class, or personal creed is recited or reflected upon daily to reaffirm commitment to excellence.
  14. All learners experience success. The educator guarantees it by comparing learners to their own past performance, not the performance of others. Learners are showcased, and past failures are disregarded.
  15. Educators teach on their feet, thus utilizing proximity. They engage learners personally, hold high expectations of learners, and should not limit learners to grade level or perceived ability.
  16. Educators and learners employ effective interpersonal communications skills.
  17. Educators and learners celebrate the successes of others.