Showing Respect for Students

'In the Classroom with Mrs. M' photo (c) 2010, bestlibrarian - license:
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While it is true that students first learn about respect at home, it is also an essential aspect of any successful learning environment.

The best way teach your students about respect is to show them respect.

As with other traits – honesty, integrity, etc. - when a child experiences what it feels like to be respected, they gain a better understanding of why it's so important and are more likely to reciprocate.

Here are a few ways that you can show respect for your students in the classroom...

  • Model manners. Be sure to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, etc. Ask permission before moving a student's belongings.
  • Affirm your students. Pay them compliments. Tell them when you think they're doing an extraordinary job. Thank them when they go above and beyond in class. Help them set and achieve goals. Never insult or embarrass them. If you must reprimand a student, never yell and, if possible, correct behavior quietly and away from the ears of classmates.
  • Model honesty. If you've made a mistake, own up to it and apologize.
  • Foster independence. Demonstrate that you trust your students, providing opportunities for them to make their own choices. Entrust them with duties around the classroom. Hold students accountable for their choices and actions. Encourage students to share their ideas and foster an environment where students are free to share their opinions, however different they may be.
  • Model dependability. Be true to your word; if you say you're going to do something, do it!
  • Promote fairness. Treat all students alike. Don't make snap judgments; listen to all sides of the story before drawing conclusions. Allow each child to begin with a clean slate each day.
  • Model active listening. Give your full attention when approached with a concern, question, or comment. Process the information and offer feedback.
  • Foster self-respect. Remind students that it is okay to make mistakes. Discourage negative self-speak (i.e. “I'm so dumb! I can't believe I messed this up!”).

When you model how to be respectful in the classroom, your students are very likely to follow!