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Monday, December 15, 2014

Social Etiquette: 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Today during our school assembly, I noticed a range of behavior.

Some students demonstrated terrific social etiquette and others demonstrated little.

Rather than a focus on rules, I decided to focus on social etiquette when we returned to the classroom.

I mentioned to students that now more than ever before social etiquette is expected in all areas of life. I've been cognizant of this as many executives and leaders have been called out due to their weak social etiquette recently. Also I read a related article in the Boston Globe yesterday that had me thinking about the topic. And, I've had to think about this personally too as the work place moves from a familiar family-like environment to a more professional, business like atmosphere.

Population increase, greater intersections of culture, countries, and people all over the world, and the need for more collaboration with regard to the world's most critical issues all call for increased social etiquette. The recent Sony Pictures hack fall-out also reminds us of this.

So with this in mind, how would you describe apt social etiquette today?  What is the best guide? What protocols in your life and organization lead this?  How do we teach this to students at elementary, middle school, high school, and college? At my niece's college in England there is a great emphasis on social etiquette with multiple social events and corresponding protocols?  I wonder if American colleges have a similar focus, and if so what does this look like?

I will pose this question in our next family newsletter after the New Year.

In the meantime, and specifically with regard to school assembly, I'll ask students to demonstrate the following social etiquette:
  • Good listening skills.
  • Hand-raising when they want to talk.
  • Clapping after a performance.
  • Saving most side comments for after the assembly.
  • A willingness to share their point of view about performances and school assembly topics in a respectful way with the proper leaders after the assembly.
I told students that most often it's the children with the best social etiquette that are listened to, get chosen for leadership roles in school and on sports teams, and earn the respect of peers and teachers. It's a win-win to have good social etiquette. 

I plan to up my skills in this area too as I learn along side my students. I look forward to your thoughts in this regard. It's a positive move to focus on social etiquette rather than rules for rules sake. Don't you agree?