Most teachers would give anything for a classroom management tool that is easy, really works, and has minimal cost. And if given one, those same teachers might say “If it’s too good to be true then it probably is not true!”
But there is one and it is true. It is simple, free, and easy to use. Believe it. “What’s it called,” you ask?
Just one simple word but one that is full of magnificence.
Respect means treating others like you want to be treated, not judging, and being unconcerned about being liked and more concerned about being open and listening.
He was in a French prison at the time because what he talked about was politically incorrect. It was written in his pamphlet, Age of Reason. He was unconcerned about class structure, cultural differences and politics. He saw something few people see. Still today we get caught up with the so-called right way to do things, getting the correct answers and keeping everyone on the same page.
I will admit that in a classroom filled with students and desks, clinging to conventional teaching methods and discipline structures can push teachers back into that need to control every situation. The very nature of children can create chaos. The fear of letting go and relying on the concept of mutual respect to guide each student is scary.
After all, the job of a teacher is more about teaching children to think and learn on their own as opposed to filling them with facts and having them regurgitate it at the end of a unit. If you use respect to manage your classroom, you will have no choice but bring students into individually focused learning. They go hand in hand. When you as a teacher are willing and able to model respect for each student, they will learn to respect you, the other students, and maybe most importantly themselves. Respect for others, property, and ideas will expand the minds of everyone.
Because students won’t know what to do with the new freedom of being respected, there will be a learning curve that requires teaching about respect and allowing discussion of the positive effects of respect.
The concept of respect can be applied to everything the students do at school, at home and as they move into the world. It can work in kindergarten and in AP statistics classes. The concept must be based in the ideas that people don’t have to agree and can even be on totally opposite ends of belief but when it comes down to relating to people in any context the ability to respect others will be the most important thing you do and teach.
Using respect as a “rule” in a school can spread like wildfire, increasing learning, happiness and well-being. It is about allowing individuality, letting each person be the person they were created to be and about being open to the fact that every person has his own thoughts, ideas, and feelings. It is not in the history of conventional teaching that students have been given such respect. Students have been forced to fit into molds that have nothing to do with them. Being respectful begins with the teacher. It cost nothing, it is easy to use, and really works. When you behave respectfully, it calls others to do the same.
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