Teaching the “3 Rs”: Responsibility, Respect, and Refinement

A podcast from Alex Packer, etiquette guru and author of How Rude!® The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out.

Sixth in a monthly series of podcasts from Free Spirit Publishing.


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Podcast transcription:
HowRudeIt used to be that the biggest manners violations teachers had to worry about were spitballs and gum chewing. Nowadays, teachers are expected to deal with bullying, sexual harassment, and CELL PHONES! What can school staff do to encourage better behavior in their students? Etiquette expert Alex Packer is here with some tips you can use to help your students graduate with a masters in good manners.

75% of adults I surveyed for How Rude! believe that students are LESS polite today than they were a generation ago.

So, what do we do? We turn to you. To teachers. We expect YOU to teach manners.

As if you weren’t already on maximum overload with classes, counseling, caring, coaching, correcting, testing, planning, meeting, grading, and disciplining.

We ask YOU to fight the forces of culture, media, politics, inequality, bigotry, and lax parenting that have contributed to society’s slide into the Cesspool of Incivility.

And you know what? You’re already teaching manners. Because you care about your kids and community and country, and you know that having good manners can make a big difference in your students’ lives.

Here are a few ideas that may help you encourage better behavior in your students.

Remember that YOU are the Ruler of the Kingdom. The Keeper of the Climate.

Tell students up front your expectations for behavior in the community that is your—and their—classroom. Kindness, like cruelty, is contagious. Let your students know they’re all going to catch it.

Be a role model for the values that underscore good manners. Focus on the positive. Give students—and teach THEM to give—immediate feedback for good deeds. Let parents and other educators know what you’re doing. Enlist their support. There’s power in numbers, and the more you can all be on the same page, the more it will reinforce the message.

Students need to know that good manners are good for them. Sure, treating people with consideration and respect is the right and moral thing to do, but kids with good manners stand out from the crowd. Their good manners will be noticed, enriching their lives, relationships, and opportunities.

When manners violations do occur, notice them in non-shaming ways. Create nonverbal signals—a finger to your lips, a palm held up—to respond to minor rudeness without disrupting the class or humiliating the perpetrator. When a rude behavior distracts the entire class, use the incident to recognize the harm caused by unkind words and actions. Engage in a quick role play to demonstrate alternative, positive ways to deal with such situations.

There are many things you can do to integrate good manners into classroom life.

  • Let students send thank-you notes and get-well cards.
  • Have them publicly recognize their classmates’ outside-of-school achievements.
  • Post a Manners Question Box that will get answered once a week in class.
  • Find a good manners book—I think I can recommend one for you—and select readings to stimulate discussion and good behavior.
  • Use social media sites to offer compliments, recognize kindness, and maintain a manners calendar that tracks classroom climate with bulletins such as “This class has gone 27 days without an unkind act.”
  • Toss out quotations for discussion such as this one by Laurence Sterne:
    “Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.”
    Or this one from Aesop: [EE-sop]
    “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”

How about a Secret Sleuth who recognizes positive behavior with a gift coupon, a treat, a night-off from homework. When I was a school principal I had a farm where we often took our students for overnight trips. One afternoon I was sitting with a few teachers and noticed trash in plain view on the lawn. I also noticed kid after kid walk by as if it didn’t exist. Exasperated, I said to my colleagues, “I can’t believe they walk right by. I swear, if a kid picks up that trash I’m going to give him five dollars.” And, amazingly, a couple minutes later a student did just that. We porch-sitters erupted in cheers. The poor kid didn’t know what was going on until I explained and handed him a five-dollar bill. Well, word got around, and for the rest of the week you’ve never seen such a litter-vigilant group of kids in your life.

Don’t worry about these activities taking time away from “academics.” Kids learn best and most efficiently when they feel safe, relaxed, and respected. Creating a nurturing classroom, a sanctuary of politeness and respect, will enhance your students’ capacity for, and joy in, learning.

Until next time, this is Alex Packer, etiquette guru and author of
How Rude!® The Teen Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior, and Not Grossing People Out

Wise Highs from Free Spirit PublishingAlex J. Packer received his Ph.D. in educational and developmental psychology from Boston College and his master’s degree in education from Harvard. He has been headmaster of an alternative school for 11- to 15-year-olds and director of education at the Capital Children’s Museum. He is president emeritus of FCD Educational Services, a Boston-based provider of drug education and substance abuse prevention services to schools worldwide. He is also the author of an eBook for teens Wise Highs: How to Thrill, Chill, and Get Away from It All Without Alcohol or Other Drugs.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

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Enter to Win Student Leadership Resources

giveaway button © by Free Spirit PublishingStudent leadership isn’t just for a chosen few. At Free Spirit, we’re committed to building leadership skills in all students with resources to help young people discover their own leadership potential and develop skills that guide them to act responsibly and make a difference in the world around them. This month we are excited to give away the following student leadership titles:

Leadership Giveaway 1-28-15Building Everyday Leadership in All Teens
Building Everyday Leadership in All Kids
Everyday Leadership
Everyday Leadership Cards
Everyday Leadership Skills & Attitude Inventory CD-ROM
Leadership Lessons In a Jar®

 


To Enter:
Leave a comment below telling us how you help young people discover their own leadership potential.

For additional entries, leave a separate comment below for each of the following tasks that you complete:

Each comment counts as a separate entry—that’s four chances to win! Entries must be received by midnight, February 20, 2015.

The winner will be contacted via email on or around February 23, 2015, and will need to respond within one week to claim his or her prize or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. Winner must be a U.S. resident, 18 years of age or older.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

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January Giveaway Winner Announced

January giveawy collageCongratulations to Calvalyn Day, winner of our January giveaway of twelve Free Spirit books on bullying prevention!

Calvalyn was selected by a random drawing. In her entry she wrote:

I currently work part time as a school social worker and as a bullying prevention educator. I travel to schools across the state teaching students about bullying prevention. I would use the books to spark honest conversation with kids about bullying.

Another giveaway is coming up soon, watch for more information!


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2015 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved.

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EdSurge Summits: Connecting Developers with Teachers

EdSurge is a free independent information resource for people using or developing educational technology. With a dual website—the Instruct site for educators and the Innovate site for developers—they work to build open communication between the classroom, administration, and tech developers and entrepreneurs. Their sites are full of info on what’s in, what’s out, and what is needed to make ed tech a useful tool for educators, administrators, and parents.

EdSurge Tech Summits Video LinkAt the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summits, teachers can walk through apps and program modules with the developer. As the summit site states, each free two-day summit is intended to “bring together teachers, administrators, and companies for two days of experimentation, learning, and relationship building.” Feedback from educators drives changes in the tech products. Administrators can share their needs for new tools for analytics. This video gives a quick overview of a 2014 summit in the Los Angeles area. Each summit includes a keynote speaker, considerable hands-on tech time, lunch, a student panel, networking opportunities, a reception, and a drawing for free tech goodies. There is a separate track for administrators, and these events are free for all educators.

Past summits have been a hit in Rhode Island, Maryland, Tennessee, and California. Several more are in the pipeline, and the 2015 cities are:

Because the developers really want to talk with end users and learn about their needs and concerns, there is no fee for current K–12 educators—but you do need to preregister.


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

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Take Your Child to the Library Day

By Eric Braun

Minneapolis writer Eric Braun on Thursday, November 20, 2013.Is taking your child to the library quaint? When the World Wide Web puts the knowledge of the earth at your fingertips? When iPads seem more popular than books? Of course not! Libraries are cooler than ever, and kids, of course, love nothing more than a playdate with mom or dad. Taking kids to the library is a great way to connect with your family and community.

To get you pumped up for Take Your Child to the Library Day—a day of observation that was conceived by Nadine Lipman, a children’s librarian in Waterford, Connecticut, and has been celebrated on the first Saturday of February since 2012—here’s a roundup of library love from around the Internet.

Awesome Outdoor Libraries
Child to LIbrary Day
Flavorwire collects 20 outdoor libraries and bookstores from all over the world. I can hardly think of anything that sounds better than browsing books under the sun. Forget surfing the Web—at this pop-up library on Sydney’s Bondi Beach you can surf the ocean, then read a book without your feet leaving the sand.

Awesome Librarians
Courtesy of Buzzfeed, here are 9 Reasons Why Librarians Are Awesome. Read the post to find out about wine librarians, a gorilla librarian, a guerilla librarian, and more.

Librarian Tattoos
I wonder if accountants get money tattoos or lawyers get tattoos of whatever thing symbolizes lawyers. If they do, I doubt any of those tattoos are as cool as these. Check out Tattooed Librarians and Archivists for a fun stroll through the wonderful world of librarian tattoos. book tat flash public domain from pd4_netImagine getting shushed by this librarian. Not specifically library-related, but you can also find some great literary ink at The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide.

Little Free Libraries
Sometimes taking your child to the library is as simple as walking to a neighbor’s yard. These cuties are popping up all over my neighborhood; I hope you’re as lucky. Click here to order one for your yard.

More Amazing Libraries

NYC little free library

This little free library in NYC is small and quirky!

Libraries are for reading, researching, reflecting, probably some other quiet-sounding r-words, but that doesn’t mean they’re restrained. Check out Slate’s list of some of the coolest, most unusual and beautiful libraries in the world. Fodor’s collects “stunning” libraries in this post, and Mental Floss gives us “62 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.”

Book Boat
Norway’s weather can get pretty harsh in the winter, so not everyone can easily take their child to the library when they want to. What’s a library-loving Norwegian to do? Enter the floating library, Epos. As this article on Thor News explains, “Epos’s main purpose is to enrich hamlets, located in the west coast of Norway, that don’t have their own libraries.” The floating library has about 4,000 books and audiobooks to check out.

More Weird and Wonderful Libraries
Wow, this post at Lit Reactor features a ton of super quirky but wonderful libraries around the world. From the Biblioburro delivering books by donkey in rural Colombia to the Camel Library doing it humpback in northern Kenya—not to mention a pink saucer-shaped library in Italy that’s designed to look like a glowing UFO at night—there are a lot of really great libraries here.

See you at the library this weekend!

Eric Braun is a Minneapolis writer, editor, and kid at heart. He loves his library!


We welcome your comments and suggestions. Share your comments, stories, and ideas below, or contact us. All comments will be approved before posting, and are subject to our comment and privacy policies.

FSP Springybook Signature(c)© 2015 by Free Spirit Publishing. All rights reserved.

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