“The secret to education lies in respecting the student.” Ralph Waldo Emerson – Respect
What does respect look like in the classroom?
Students learn a great deal about respect inside the classroom. Not only do they pay attention to how their teachers and classmates treat them, but they also carry expectations for how they should act in return. Mutual respect in the classroom is a noble goal in theory, but hard to achieve because either the student or the teacher is unable to hold up his/her end of the deal. Without mutual respect, learning is elusive and the classroom is quickly gripped by misbehavior and personal conflict.
Join Steve and Dan Fouts for an unforgettable conversation about respect using the Teach Different 3-Step Method.
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Steve Fouts: 0:00
Hey everybody. Steve and Dan Fouts here teaching different with Ralph Waldo Emerson with a quote about respect. “The secret to education lies in respecting the student.” Emerson is using the word respect in the context of an educational setting. In a classroom with a teacher and students, the teacher is usually the person everyone is looking up to. They have the knowledge, and it’s their profession, their job, to share this knowledge with students. There are relationship and personality dynamics in classrooms. Most people have experienced a great classroom, one that’s fun to be in and where they are learning. There are also classrooms that are negative, where there are obstacles to overcome in order to enjoy the experience and to get something out of it. Emerson is making an interesting claim here. Dan, how would you state it?
Dan Fouts: 1:16 – Claim
The word that comes up is trust. If you want a classroom that works, you have to respect and trust the students that are under your care. In other words, students have the knowledge, and your role as a teacher is to bring out the wisdom and intelligence that’s inside them. It’s not about the teacher holding the keys to all the knowledge. It’s about the students having the knowledge already, and your role is to bring it out. That shows respect.
Steve Fouts: 1:50
This is a philosophy of education that now all people agree with. They think students don’t have knowledge, that’s why they’re in school. They’re building their knowledge base. But, I agree with you that the way this is written, respecting a student does mean that you have to acknowledge that they have things to share and can give intelligent input. If you don’t respect them, education won’t happen.
Dan Fouts: 2:27
Ralph Waldo Emerson was writing in the 1800s. This is a quote that reflects a child centered education approach.
Steve Fouts: 2:38
This is where education is moving these days. This definitely has a voice today.
Dan Fouts: 2:47
To move this conversation in class, kids can share how it feels when they’re respected as a student. They can talk about a time when they felt honored, admired, andrespected?
Steve Fouts: 3:10
Yeah, that would be interesting to get from the student. What kind of classroom activities show trust – student groups, student presentations, or free and independent work?
Dan Fouts: 3:22
Or, how you’re talked to as a student. It might be a communication style that conveys respect. I’d like to hear what they say.
Steve Fouts: 3:32
Well, let’s push back against it. What would be the counterclaim to this?
Dan Fouts: 3:38 – Counterclaim
The counterclaim is that the teacher has the knowledge, wisdom, and experience and should be respected. Maybe the teacher should be the person who’s most respected in a classroom. I don’t think the counterclaim is that students should be ignored, but that respect should be given to the teacher first, and then from that everything else flows.
Steve Fouts: 4:10
A lot of students would appreciate the counterclaim. I know that many students get frustrated when their peers are given too much of a voice in the classroom. It’s too hard to decipher what type of knowledge to trust. They want to hear from the teacher what the knowledge is, and then they can assimilate it. Some students learn better from adults than their peers.
Dan Fouts: 4:44
We know those students in class who would prefer information from an adult with a lot of experience and knowledge, instead of learning from a group discussion. I can appreciate that.
Steve Fouts: 5:02 – Essential Question
Let’s wrap up the conversation with an essential question that the students are definitely going to have an opinion about. What does respect look like in the classroom? I think having a conversation about this question can build a community in the classroom. The students might develop a higher sensitivity toward their peers. They’ll recognize that some of their classmates prefer to listen when the teacher is talking, and will respect that. That would be ideal and can help with classroom management.
Dan Fouts: 5:45
A conversation like this will raise awareness of respect. It will make the kids and the teacher more attuned to respecting each other. That’s the hope and beauty of these conversations. It’s a reminder of the importance of things like mutual respect.
Steve Fouts: 6:08
Definitely. We hope you enjoyed Emerson this week. Make sure you visit our Conversation Library where we have many conversations like this, each with a different quote, a sample claim, counterclaim, and an essential question to get you started.
Take care of everybody. We will see you soon.
Dan Fouts: 6:38
Alright, see you soon.