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Blogger at Cult of Pedagogy

This is such an important

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This is such an important message! It's crazy to imagine that we all have the same interpretation of concepts like "respect." So often, I have seen kids get reprimanded because they have different backgrounds from the teachers, or because they do things they should "know better" not to do, when really, they may not necessarily know better; they really haven't been around long enough. I think so many adults forget all the years it took them to learn what they know now, and how uneven that process can be. We need to give kids the benefit of the doubt if they say they don't understand something, and be as explicit as we can be with our expectations.

One thing that can go a long way toward helping students understand our expectations is role-playing. Having students act out hypothetical situations and discussing the different options they have at any given moment can be so enlightening for both students and teachers.

Thanks for a great post.

Educational Consultant/Author, Southern California

So true. Love your neighbor

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So true. Love your neighbor as yourself may summarize the Law of Moses, but there were plenty of specifics to help us get there. Kids are natural lawyers and really do need and appreciate specifics as to behavior--as well as consequences for both positive and negative behavior.

English teacher living in CT

I really enjoyed the

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I really enjoyed the distinction between "rules" vs. "values." In my classroom, I use expectations rather than rules and the behaviors that are and are not acceptable fall under the broader umbrella of each expectation. Our school has seven core values, so my expectations and our core values go hand in hand. Plus, I find that rules, especially how they are outlined in this post, can be a challenge for students to grasp as they are not always concrete examples. "Respect" may be too abstract of a concept for some lower-functioning students to comprehend; however, a value or an expectation spells out exactly the behavior that I am looking for. Great article! :)

Nice. Whenever I hear

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Nice. Whenever I hear "Respect" I remember that that was the mantra of Sacha Baron Cohen on the Ali G show. It would be hard to imagine a person or a show who was more disrespectful of anybody who didn't share all his views and values. So it really meant "Respect people who accept all the truths that I know to be self-evident." The most intolerant people I know are the ones that talk the most about tolerance. And respect for diversity. We declare nice sounding platitudes, pat ourselves on the back, and then sanctimoniously do whatever we want. Thanks for this article.

Co-Director East Bay WL Project at UC Berkeley Language Center

Great point - values vs.

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Great point - values vs. rules! And so true. Every year I think I may have it. I enlist the students in coming up with a list of 'agreements' we all vow to keep, including me. And then it seems like we have to have more and more 'agreements' every time a line is crossed! We do hold the values you mention, however. We all agree that everyone must be and feel safe. We all agree each one has the right and responsibility to learn. Our school rules are summed up under Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible. Those too, are values we can all agree to accept and promote. I suppose it is human nature to want to push the boundaries to see where they really are! However, rather than getting upset or frustrated, I like to ask, 'are you keeping our agreements?' And it is only fair that they get to ask me that as well. Not perfect, but civil, better than it has been, and I am still looking for something better! I appreciate your post.

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