from Tips For New Teachers and Student Teachers, Sam states,
“I believe, however, that we can’t just eliminate those rules posters and replace them with one that reads: Respect Yourself and Respect Others.
Because students don’t know what these two rules mean.
…What I would suggest is creating some kind of poster that focuses on these two rules, but which also offers suggestions of how and why these two rules should be followed.”
I absolutely agree with Sam! Too many times we tell our students to behave and they have absolutely no idea what that entails. When my daughter was young, I remember her coming up to me and asking if she was have (with a long a sound). I couldn’t understand her until she told me that I told her to be have and she wasn’t sure what have was. This is exactly what we do to our students.
Since then, I have tried to put concrete behaviors with abstract expectations. When I go over the class rules and we come to “Respect Others and Yourself,” I also go into the actions that would show others how we “respect” them. They include (but are not limited to):
1. Keep your hands to yourself. (respecting others)
2. Don’t touch other people’s property without permission. (respecting others)
3. Encourage rather than discourage. (respecting yourself and others)
4. No name calling (respecting yourself and others)
5. Dress appropriately (respecting yourself)
6. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. (respecting others)
7. Come prepared for class (respecting yourself and others)
8. Keep your promises. (respecting others)
Once I begin this discussion, many times the students will have input on what they view as respectful and can be added to the list. These specific behaviors can be posted in the classroom.
During the school year, when someone acts inappropriately, I refer to the list and ask them if that is showing respect. By being able to see their behavior in this way, I think it helps them correct their behavior. Sometimes it helps them to self monitor their actions. I have even heard one student correct another by telling a classmate that their behavior is disrespectful and points out the number on the chart that refers to that behavior.
What abstract behaviors do you expect from your students? How do you define this behavior and how do teach it to your students? What do you think could be added to my list? Please share.
Image: 'PLCMC's ImaginOn'