How do you define respect in the classroom? How would your students define respect in the classroom? Would these definitions be the same? These were the types of questions that drove a team of researchers from Seattle, WA to conduct a study of respect in the classroom.
The article Four Faces of Respect (Hajii, 2006) details a study of 19 to 21 year-old students identified at medium-risk to high-risk of engaging in harmful behaviors (i.e. use/abuse of drugs and alcohol) and who are one to two grades behind. Students in this study receive educational services in an alternative education setting that focuses on literacy, computer, and workforce readiness skill acquisition. The researchers conducted observations, interviews, and document analysis over a twenty-four week period to determine the attributes that would define respect. Researchers identified four themes that were consistent between students and teachers:
- Challenge – Challenging academics in the classroom sends the message to students they are capable and worthy of education.
- Attention – Attention to the uniqueness of students sends the message that they are respected and appreciated as individuals.
- Responsiveness – Responsiveness sends students the message that they are valuable and worthy of having their academic needs met.
- Expectations – Expectations of success sends students the message that they are capable of producing at higher levels.
As you plan for next week, think about how you can incorporate challenge, attention, responsiveness, and expectations in your classroom. Your students will recognize that you CARE for them, and they will be grateful for your efforts.