Can "treat others as you would like to be treated" be the only rule in a classroom?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by ms_teacher, Aug 13, 2007.

  1. ms_teacher

    ms_teacher Companion

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Greetings!!
    I have just secured an elementary position in a NYC school. Don't know what grade it will be yet (can be from 1-5).

    I have gotten an enormous amount of ideas and assistance from this site and would love to know your opinion on the following: I read Educating Esme and she stated that her only rule (Golden Rule) in the class was "treat others as you would like to be treated". Have you ever only used this rule in your class? It seems like this rule would apply to all of the other smaller rules (Raise your hand, don't talk while someone else is talking, etc.) But it seems abstract for rules like don't walk up to the teacher.

    What do you think? What are your rules? Teacher constructed rules vs. student constructed?
     
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  3. 3littlemonkeys

    3littlemonkeys Comrade

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    It strikes me as maybe too vague, or requiring too much logic, depending on what grade you teach. I think 5th graders would be more inclined to stop and think, "Wait, is this what I would want students to do if I were the one talking?" than, say, first graders.

    Another idea for a "one main rule" kind of system might be to simply say "Do the right thing." You'd probably need to go over what the "right" thing would be in various situations, ranging from putting your name on your paper to tattling to using kind words, etc., but I think the younger grades would get it more once that had been done.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Aug 13, 2007

    While it's great in theory, and there are probably some groups that it would work with, you may be opening yourself up to, "I wouldn't mind if someone said that/did that to me." A rule as open-ended as this would require lots of teaching of precisely what your expectations of the classroom are.
     
  5. Ms.T

    Ms.T Comrade

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    I do not use that rule, but I do have only 1 rule in my classroom, which is from Love and Logic:

    You may do anything that does not cause a problem for anybody else.
    If you choose to cause a problem, I will ask you to solve the problem.
    If you chose not to or cannot solve the problem, I will do something.
    What I do depends on each unique situation and individual student.

    This is VERY vague, but I have never had a problem with it. I spend lots of time at the beginning of the year explaining it and brainstorming possible problems and solutions. I make sure to tell them that "anybody else" includes the teachers, the principals, their parents, etc. Then if the kid is doing something wrong that is minor, I just say "That is causing a problem for me. Please stop." It usually works.

    So, I don't think using that rule you mentioned would be too hard. If you want to have just that rule, make sure you explain it well to both students and parents. Good luck!
     
  6. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Aug 13, 2007

    You might be interested in this website, if you haven't seen it. I have the poster hanging in my classroom. Golden Rule
     
  7. monica

    monica Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2007

    I teach preschool and only have 4 rules. We talk about them in detail for the first two weeks, but they are:

    Be Safe
    Be Kind
    Work Hard
    Have Fun

    Everything I can come up with falls under these. With my little guys it's easier to keep it simple and talk about issues before (and as) they arise. No sense in saying "don't run, don't hit, don't push....." only puts it in their mind.

    My 2 cents....:2cents:
     
  8. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 13, 2007

    In my opinion, no, but I have a sign at the front of the room that states "Treat people like people." :)
     
  9. Amanda

    Amanda Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 13, 2007

    I used the Golden Rule as a starting point, but we had a list of more specific rules as well. You do have to be careful with some kids because like MrsC said, some kids will say they don't care if someone kicks them, for instance. Just be aware of the possibility and how you would handle it. The only time I ran into a problem with that was with a student who had severe behavior problems. He had no remorse and had trouble with understanding feelings. His mother had used drugs and/or alcohol when she was pregnant and she abandoned him at a young age. Unfortunately it's not too uncommon to have a child like that in your class. It takes a lot of work to teach them about respecting others' feelings.
     
  10. Annie227

    Annie227 Companion

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    I had a college professor who taught us the "Diamond Rule" - it was to treat people as you would want someone you love treated. He had us each think about someone we loved dearly and we brought in their pictures as reminders. He said especially as teachers we need to think about how we treat each student and make sure that we would be okay with our "diamond" being treated that way. Not sure how this would work with elementary kids - but it was a great lesson!
     
  11. ms_teacher

    ms_teacher Companion

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    Aug 13, 2007

    Thanks for all of your thoughtful responses!!!
    Annie227... I love that!! I think I will change my rule to the "Diamond Rule." I will definitely have other rules where the diamond rule might be too abstract. I planned to go over the rule in great detail with interactive examples...

    I LOVE this site!!
    (P.S. I still don't know what grade I'll be teaching yet...)
     
  12. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    Aug 14, 2007

    at my last school we used Treat people right, do the right thing. (with extensive charting about what that looks like), one of my grade level teachers uses the love and logic rule that was posted above. I use BIST goals for life and expectations:

    I can be okay and productive even when others are not okay.
    I can be okay and productive even when I'm having difficult feelings.
    I can be okay and productive even when I don't want to.

    It is never okay to be disruptive. Being disruptive means interferring with your learning or the learning of someone else.
     
  13. Doublescoop

    Doublescoop Companion

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    I used to have my first graders help establish rules but I found they were a bit too young to think of rules with substance so I developed (well, actually borrowed from the Bible lol) a two rule system:

    1. Honour God.
    2. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    On the first day we talk about what these two mean. The kids suggest rules and we figure out which big rule they fit under. For instance, no hitting would be #2 and do your best work would be under #1. For the rest of the year, I can simply say things like does that honour God or would you like to be treated that way and they know exactly what I mean.
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I wish I could involve God more in my classroom. :(
     
  15. Doublescoop

    Doublescoop Companion

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    I count myself very blessed to work in a Christian school where God is the center. Even if you are in a public system though where God forbid you're not even allowed to utter His name, you can still show His love through your actions. Let YOUR light shine! :)
     
  16. Irissa

    Irissa Cohort

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    According to CHAMPS rules should not be vague or broad and need to be observable for children to really understand them and follow them. What is "how you want to be treated" students don't know they are going to need a lot of role play and direction and conversation about the rule. Goodness knows some of my kids TELL me they don't mind being hit (though i'm sure thats just talk) so they can hit.....
     
  17. Annie227

    Annie227 Companion

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    For whatever reason this reminded me of a student who told me "I don't respect my mom - why should I respect you?" .... this was from a 3rd grader!
     
  18. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Aug 15, 2007

    Not sure how applicable this is to an elementary classroom, but I worked at a day care once (preschool and schoolage) and we had one rule - "Everyone's bodies and feelings are safe." Again, this could be a starting point for a discussion about what "safe" means. Now that I am doing my practicums, I find this rule useful especially on the playground. I frequently say, "Is what you are doing keeping your friends safe?"
     

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