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Encouraging respect in the classroom
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2015 11:37 AM

People are more likely to engage in conversation and make an effort when they feel respected. This means you must respect your students for them to respect you. How can you cultivate this mutual feeling in the classroom? Here are are a few tips:

Earn respect by practicing what you preach
If you've ever had an authority figure say he or she would do something and then not follow through, you've probably lost some respect for that individual. For teachers, this means you must follow the rules you establish and also complete any disciplinary action you agreed to orchestrate. When your students know you will punish them if necessary, they may respect the rules more. This follow-through rule also applies to other things. If you say you'll do something, whether it's bringing candy for Halloween or looking into getting a class pet, you need to do so. Some students think teachers who say one thing and do another are liars, and that can definitely tarnish your attempts at earning respect.

Foster respect between students
One of the most common ways that people show disrespect, even without realizing it, is to interrupt while someone else speaks. In class, it is your job to ensure that the rest of the students are quiet when one of their peers speaks. This can be difficult when you host a discussion, as many people will want to speak at once. If necessary, use a talking stick to keep track of who has the floor or remember who raised their hands in what order so you can ensure everyone has a chance to share. When students respect one another, they are more likely to also respect you.

Talk about people you respect
Parenting expert and author Michele Borba wrote that students can benefit from making a list of people they respect. Then, each child can explain why he or she feels that way. Maybe they respect their moms because these women work hard or the mail carriers because these public servants wear a uniform. Talk about what makes someone respected, and you may find your class aspires to be like these important individuals. Noting the qualities that kids find respectable can also help you become one of those people yourself. You should join in on this activity by sharing who you respect and why. This way, your students can learn more about you.