Expectations of Respect (Grades 6-12)
Character Education Objective:
Students and teachers will use a Gallery Walk activity to define what respectful behavior looks like in the classroom, in the hallways, in the cafeteria, and in their athletics and activities.
- HS – Essential Concept and/or Skill: Communicate and work productively with others, incorporating different perspectives and cross cultural understanding, to increase innovation and the quality of work.
- MS – Essential Concept and/or Skill: Communicate and work productively with others, considering different perspectives, and cultural views to increase the quality of work.
Respect is a challenging character trait because it is not an absolute. Instead, respect exists on a continuum – one can show varying degrees of respect, and conflict can happen when we define respect differently. What is perfectly respectful behavior to one is disrespectful to another. Assumptions are not expectations. If we assume everyone knows how to act in every context, we will inevitably be proven wrong.
Thus, it is in our best interest to define what respect looks like in different contexts so that all parties understand the expected behaviors.
Gallery Walk Activity
- Attach four sheets of chart paper around the room. Each piece of paper should have one of the following headings: Classroom, Hallways, Cafeteria, Athletics/Activities.
- Draw a vertical line down the center of the paper.
- Split students into four equal groups and assign each group to a sheet of chart paper. (If you have too many students, you can create a second set of chart paper with the same headings).
- Ask students to think about what respect looks like for the context on their chart paper. On the left side of the line, students should write down what respect looks like/sounds like for their scenario. Then, on the right side of the line, they should list what it does NOT look like.
- After students finish their sheet of chart paper, rotate groups. Now, at a new sheet of chart paper, students should read what their classmates wrote, and add any additional behaviors to the either side of the list.
- Rotate the groups two more times so that each group visits each sheet of chart paper. The length of time needed at each sheet diminishes with each rotation, since most of the behaviors will already be listed.
- Review the lists. Ask students if there are any other behaviors that need to be added to any list. Then, ask students if there are any behaviors that need clarification.
- Optional Activity – Ask students if there are any behaviors that they cannot or will not do. Turn the lists into expectations that students sign and agree to follow.
Encourage parents to create a similar list of what respect does and does not look like in the house. It is important that the list is not created just for children in the household. Whatever is on the list applies to everyone, kid and parent alike.
Ask everyone in the house to sign the list once it is agreed to.