Lines of Civility In Your Classroom

Online, you know when the line of civility is crossed, but it’s tough to define sometimes.  You’re in a group phone or video conversation and the tone shifts.  Someone responds with a brick-headed comment or message is designed to be offensive to another person. We’ve all been there in the Valley of the Trolls.  And there are some solutions out there to help you in the process

But what if that same situation occurs in a face-to-face environment–your classroom, or a teacher meeting?  One thing you cannot easily do is ‘block the user,’ who, after all, is a human being assigned to your charge or your building.  What will you do?

The solution, to me, seems embedded in the literacy standards of the Core, under the heading of Claim-Evidence-Reasoning. There are literacy standards that range from science and technical reading to speaking and listening skills.  Repeatedly, the phrases ‘cite evidence,’ ‘identify the central idea,’ ‘attend to date and origin’ come up.  There are a wealth of resources out there for ScienceSocial StudiesMiddle SchoolInformational Text artifacts and processes.  What I do not find as much of is the emotional practice opportunities that ensure lines of civility are not destroyed.

How will you work this year to teach others to respectfully disagree?  

As you gear up for the new year, how is this effort for civil society in  going to gain traction in your classroom?  How will students need to know and do to show respectful discourse?  I’d love to hear your strategies.
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  • MarciMiles

    Civil Meetings

    I enjoyed reading your post so much, and especially liked the “Don’t Feed the Trolls” flowchart.  It seems, so easy to get swept up in the negative current and feel the need to react.  It is so important to take a step back to analyze the situation.  I was wondering if there was a link you could share with me for the “Civility Project” visual and resources?  I loved that visual.  I work in a Teacher Powered School and our meetings are not always civil, let alone compassionate.  It is so tough because I don’t believe they even see any harm in the way they respond to each other at times.  It is as if they cross the line, but are unaware of the impact it has made.  This year, we will be focusing on developing a Professional Learning Community culture, and I am hoping that helps with some of those issues.  As we develop our shared values and norms, it should give us a way to hold one another more accountable in our collaborative settings, but I am open to any resources I can find on the issue.  You are so right; it isn’t the easiest challenge to find articles on.