Thursday, June 11, 2015


Manners, not rules, at School

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Check out my latest FREEBIE! This is the perfect one page guide to help children understand what behaviors are expected in your classroom. 

Why do I use the word "Manners"?   Teachers often talk about "rules", "behaviors", or "expectations".  But, these terms are can be perceived as authoritarian, and often drive wedges between a teacher and a student, or parents and a student. When an adult teaches a child "manners", it is perceived as being helpful and supportive.  Manners are a life-long skill that all children need. Although most children have heard their parents refer to good manners at home, this lesson doesn't often extend to the classroom as parents aren't there to teach and reinforce the lessons.  

The bottom line is a win-win-win set of expectations.  Win #1 - Teachers get to express their expected behaviors.  Win #2 - Children feel loved and supported when we remind them of what good manners are.  And Win# 3 - parents see the teacher as a partner in helping to mold their child into a mannerly citizen.  

For example, Johnny is constantly blurting out answers in class and being unkind to table-mates.  He doesn't like being corrected, and tells his parents that the teacher is picking on him.  When this leads to a conference, all of a parent's defensiveness dissipates when the discussion turns to teaching appropriate manners and becoming a good citizen.  We all want this for any child and we are helping to achieve this in a classroom setting.  

Try it next year!  Start out the school year by telling the class that you have no classroom rules.  As long as they are always using their very best manners, there is no need for "rules".  Let me know how it goes!

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  1. Interesting idea!! We are expected to post classroom rules (created with students however), but I may try to use the word manners more often. I completely agree that this change in "naming" it would really help build respect between parents and students. Thanks for the new insight :) I'm off to check out the freebie!

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