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Relating Rules to Children's Reality


January 14, 2004

Year after year students hear and see posted the classroom standards (rules of proper behavior) their teachers require. I have achieved far more compliance to rules since I started relating them to what students take to heart best: the notion of fairness. I explain that all rules are for the purpose of making life in the classroom fair for all my students. They relate to this idea best because they know and I reaffirm that all the sports and games they play have rules to make these fun activities fair for everyone. So when I say, 'You must raise your hand when you wish to speak or get permission to leave your seat' or 'No eating in class', I am being fair to everybody. 'What would you think of your teacher if he or she answered some students who blurted out answers to oral questions, but responded to others only when they raised their hands?' Every law in our society has fairness as one of its underlying justifications. Relate your rules to the reality of being fair, with regular reminders and examples, and you will see a vast improvement in student behavior.

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