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Tool: Establishing and teaching rules for a classroom learning community

A teacher's rules constitute the class; the question is whether those rules will induce student support. The characteristics of those rules matter. Note the crucial distinction between telling kids rules and teaching those rules much as you would teach content, with discussion, examples and practice.

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Establishing and teaching rules for a classroom learning community

Use this rating scale to assess the use of rules in your classroom:

Without doubt

Probably

Maybe

Probably not

Can I say clearly and confidently that each rule is necessary, and reasonable for learning, safety and mutual respect, and so deserves respect and support by students?

Is each rule consistent both with learning goals and with what we know about how human beings learn?

Is each rule consistent with school rules?  Will I be acting consistently with my faculty colleagues?

Rules must be enforced; will enforcing these rules get me into fruitless conflicts that erode my relationships with my students?

Do I act reasonably and consistently on my rules?

Are my rules clear and understandable?  Can I teach them and enforce them without confusion?

Have I taught each rule?  That is, stated it, explained why it is necessary and reasonable, discussed how it applies to situations and talked about examples with my students?


*Adapted from Carol Simon Weinstein and Andrew J. Mignano (2003). Elementary/Secondary classroom management: Lessons from research and practice. New York: McGraw-Hill
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Teaches content has an example of teaching civics benchmarks while establishing classroom rules. See also the Classroom management rubric.