Dear Australia, you are here in my heart as I am in the midst of re-entry here in Hawaii. Every time I returnÂ fromÂ your shores, I find that my life is richer... new friends, new experiences and everÂ deepening connections with old friends!
I'm still getting my day and night switched back to U.S. time. The International Dateline switch is always a test when I return to my home and today I'm feeling it!
Let me get my land legs again and I have much more to share!
In all my years working in organizational development I have been results-oriented.
I believe in results and outcomes.
I understand results come from action and focus.
I think in terms of focus, then action and finally the results.
So if I turn my attention onto the education of students, I see that schools focus primarily on intellectual development. Obviously intellectual development is important, and shows up in scores in math, reading comprehension, English, science. The results in all core subjects areas are directly related to the amount of time and energy spent on these subjects.
From my perspective it shows up in classroom behavior, schoolyard interactions, as well as student dealings with teachers, administrative staff and each other throughout the campus. It shows up in how students communicate with each other.
Most schools review the numbers of principal referrals and bullying incidents. Some schools might interview teachers on the classroom management issues they are facing. All of these give us information regarding the job we are doing as educators.
Measuring Emotional and Social Literacy on a scale like that used for intellectual development is much harder. It might even be an illusive ideal to have a school wide measure for these things. But it might be time to start thinking along these lines.
The community in which your school, your family and in fact my family and friends live is dependent on us measuring and developing the emotional and social well being of students in our classrooms.
The community we want tomorrow is dependent on the results of schools today.
Although I receive dozens of emails from many of you regarding your thoughts, this has been a rare opportunity to be with you in person.
Our personal conversations have inspired and encouraged me. And it's really nice to connect the dots by putting your names with faces. From here on in when I receive e-mails from you I'll be able to see you in my mind and heart.
Lynne and I still have a week and a half to go. So I'm looking forward to meeting many more of you. Please come up to me and introduce yourself so we can have a bit of a chat.
I have been toiling away as a blogger for 18 months now, I hope you feel I am starting to understand this new medium. My decision to begin a blog was to continue a conversation. For 30+ years I have worked across classrooms, schools, districts, education department central offices, chains of stores, multinational conglomerates and everything in between. I have worked with CEOs and Super-Intindents, classroom teachers, principals, eight-year-olds and school receptionists. I have come to learn a lot, I have been privileged to work with people that amaze and astound me.
My personal gift from this journey has been one utmost central and important lesson.
The world is full of people and all these people are unique and truly beautiful with their own set of beliefs, strengths and insecurities. And these uniquely human pieces are just amazing when they come together and act as one.
This lesson sparked me 20-odd years ago to begin formulating my ideas that today, I call my Whole Person Learning Model. Where each person is a combination of their Intellectual Qualities, their Emotional Qualities and their Social Qualities - IQ, EQ, SQ.
As an American I lived through the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) period of a previous administration. I personally saw the impact such policies had on teacher morale and principal self-esteem. This week sees Australian schools complete their national tests. Governments all around the world are currently, or at present planning, such national tests. I guess these tests are now part of the landscape of our schools.
But these tests have made me pause for a moment and reflect.
If my 30+ years of work with people has had any impact, I need to think about the Whole Person in these testing regimes. How do tests of literacy and numeracy measure the Whole Person? Aren't schools more than literacy levels? Isn't the IQ, EQ, SQ balance of a child, classroom, school or entire system important? Don't we need to reflect on the fact that good schools might have low numeracy levels. Yet these same schools may be developing human beings that will make an incredible impact on the world in years to come?
I have to believe that the decision makers who are rolling out these national tests must be asking these very same questions themselves.
These questions are not easily answered and I don't haveÂ the answers myself. In fact, I am not even sure that I have any answers. What I do know is that my education over 60-odd years has instilled in me a need to ask the hard questions. Because of this, I am willing to live 'in the question even though I can't always answer it. I am willing to live in the paradox of questions without the certainty of closure. I feel that the questions are important to our students and the future generations to come.
These questions and this thinking lead to this whitepaper - Beyond Standardised Tests - in which I try to think through this issue. I hope you read it and it triggers some of your own questions. I hope it prompts you to stop and give pause for a moment too. And please, once you've read the piece let me know your thoughts whether in email or the comments section below.
Now that I have defined Respect and provided the introduction to a classroom discussion let's put some rubber to the road and build a lesson plan.
When teaching values or character skills to young people you need to remind yourself about the comfort zone.Â Every individual has a zone of habits where they are comfortable, if we stretch this comfort zone too far the student will shutdown emotionally and not take in the lesson. If the step is to small the student might get bored and again zone-out of the lesson.
With the comfort zone in mind, this lesson is designed to allow the student to express some feelings without the need to exhibit their feelings to the entire class.
Materials You Need:
- Colored Paper
- Pens or Pencils
- Writing Paper
Use the definition I posted earlier this week and the explanation that I provided for your middle years students to begin a full class discussion on Respect.Â Take a pop culture figure relevant to your students, maybe singer or an actor.Â Have the group define why this person should or shouldn't be Respected.
Small Group Activity:
Now that the group discussion has provided a model for the students to follow, ask students to pick a person in their family that they really respect, someone that is a role model for them.Â What qualities does this person exhibit?Â Why do they respect this person?Â Ask each student to write 3 or 4 things they respect about this person.
Then ask the students to form groups of 3 or 4 to share their thoughts with the others.
Conclude the activity by giving the students coloured pens or pencils, coloured paper and scissors.Â Have them draw and cut out a star that represents the person that they respect. Then put that person's name in the center of the star. Have each student also sign their name below their star. Make a bulletin board of the stars in your students' lives.
My recent post about respect in leadership has generated an avalanche of emails on respect in the classroom. So this post is an attempt on how to define Respect for students in the K-12 Classroom. You know that at times it is hard to explain these values and character traits to students. So here goes...
Respect is defined as having high regard and actions that demonstrate honor and esteem for another person or entity.
Here is a definition that can be used with your Middle School Students:
Respect is a very special quality. It is a basic feeling between human beings. If you have respect, you are considerate, courteous, and caring. Respect is so important that songwriters even wrote a song about it.
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means to me"
In order to get students involved in the lesson I suggest that you play Aretha Franklin's song (as noted above) and then open the class by asking what respect means to them. Here are some questions that might help you initiate a lesson on respect:
- What does respect mean to you?
- Do friends demonstrate respect to one another? In what ways?
- Is respect important in the family? Why? And how is respect demonstrated between siblings, child to parent, etc.?
There is self-respect, and respect for others. There is respect for property and respect for our environment. All types of respect are important.
Self-respect means that you value yourself. You feel that you are a worthwhile person and you have self-esteem. You count on people to treat you in a kind and caring way.
If you respect someone else, you are interested in them as a person. You honor and value them. You act in a kind and caring ways toward them. This kind of respect shows up in what you say and how you say it. If you respect someone you will speak in a kind and caring way. Your tone of voice and your behavior will have a nice quality when you are respectful.
Respect for property is how you treat things. It takes careful attention to deal with your own things as well as other people's things in a thoughtful considerate way. It is treating other people's property and public property as if they were your own.
'Respect for all life' is also very important. This means you respect Planet Earth. You care for the environment, and you are kind to all living things. You can show this kind of respect by not littering and not wasting Mother Nature's resources, such as water.
Without respect there would be a lot more rudeness in the world. No one would care about anyone else. Respect makes our world more peaceful and it makes all of our relationships more friendly and more fun.
How Do We Demonstrate Respect?
You can practice and demonstrate respect every day. What you do comes back to you so follow this simple law of cause (what you do) and consequence (comes back to you). Think about how you want to be treated and treat others in the same way.
You can demonstrate respect when you see older people. If an older person is standing on the bus and you are sitting, a respectful thing to do is give them your seat. Older people deserve a little extra respect and appreciation. Because you are younger, you have more energy and more strength. It is important to be sensitive to the needs of your elders and always try to help them.
You can practice respect by speaking quietly and not interrupting when others are speaking. You can listen with respect by staying focused on the speaker. You can act with respect by noticing the feelings and needs of others.
You can also show respect by kindness towards animals and all of Earth's creatures. Feed and care for your own pets and be kind to all living things.
Remember that you are a center of influence. Your words and deeds make a difference. What you say and do, and the way you say and do it can influence others. If you demonstrate respect to everyone and everything you become a positive model for other people. You will influence them in a positive way and your life will make a difference.
Ask students to journal for a few minutes at the end of every day on some act of respect they participated in or saw demonstrated by others during the course of that day.