Positive Norms, Expectations, and Perceptions

Positive Norms, Expectations, and Perceptions

Ensure youth and program staff have a clear shared understanding of norms and expectations about their behavior and consistently uphold and model norms.

Positive social norms influence the behaviors and roles that are acceptable for and expected from youth. Expectation and boundaries help youth know what is expected of them both in terms of contribution and responsibility.

To learn more, read this fact sheet:

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*3.D.1 Guidelines for behavior and ground-rules are documented and are created collaboratively with youth.
The program does not document behavior guidelines and ground-rules or create program-level rules collaboratively with youth.The program has behavior guidelines and-or program ground-rules, but they are not created collaboratively with youth or properly documented or displayed.The program has documented behavior guidelines and program ground-rules that are displayed and are created collaboratively with youth but are not consistently implemented. Youth work with staff to create program ground rules that include both negative behaviors to be avoided and positive behaviors and values that are encouraged. Youth have ownership of the guidelines and enforce its implementation. Score:

  • Program assumes youth knows the program ground rules so does not write them down or review them with the youth.
  • Clear attendance and participation expectations; informal (verbal) guidelines.
  • Posted ground rules created by the staff for group processes
    and peer interactions but no formal or informal discussion on the consequences if the rules are broken.
  • Ground rules are visibly displayed, and staff refer to them when there is misbehavior.
  • Youth and staff have ground rules they agree to and strategies are consistently applied to address inappropriate behavior and promote positive values and behaviors.
  • Youth participate in designing rules for listening and taking-turns speaking.
  • The organization has a written code of conduct that youth and staff are oriented to and asked to sign.
  • Everyone knows the consequences if the rules are broken.
*3.D.2 The program recognizes and rewards youth’s positive contributions and acknowledges youth’s value.
The program does not recognize youth’s contributions.The program acknowledges at least some of the achievements and contributions with specific language. The program provides structured opportunities to recognize achievements within program activities but opportunities are unplanned and inconsistent.
The program provides consistent structured opportunities throughout the program to acknowledge the achievements, contributions, and responsibilities of
young people.

  • Program staff members criticize youth when they do something wrong but does not congratulate them on achievements.
  • Staff says, “Yes, the project you suggested is a great way to give back to the community.”
  • There are no structured or set times for staff to recognize achievements or contributions.
  • Positive feedback after group presentations
  • Certificates and awards at the end of a program
  • Group presentations, reflections, community exhibitions, performances, and/or celebrations
  • Awards program that recognizes achievements throughout the program (not just at graduation)