Courtesy makes daily life more pleasant and means treating one another with respect and good manners. One challenge facing teachers is instilling courteous behaviour in students. Courtesy in children includes politeness, raising hands in class before speaking, holding the door for a classmate and using an indoor voice while inside. There are a number of ways to teach children courtesy without being overbearing or dull.
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Demonstrate Courteous Behavior
One of the quickest and simplest ways to teach your students courtesy is by exhibiting courteous behaviour yourself. Speak kindly to your students without shouting or raising your voice. Ask kind questions, such as "How are you feeling today?" Treat each student with respect despite your personal opinions. Hold the door for your students and always say "please" and "thank you" when appropriate.
Notice Good Behavior
When a student demonstrates courteous behaviour, take notice of it and verbally affirm the child. Explain exactly what behaviour you noticed, and tell the child how proud you are of him for his actions. For example, you could say, "I was so proud that you helped Timmy pick up his pencil when it fell off his desk," or "You did a really nice job when you remembered to say 'excuse me.'"
Discuss What Courtesy Means
If your students are not familiar with what courtesy entails, spend a few minutes explaining it to them. Even students who already understand the concept of courtesy will benefit from a gentle reminder. Talk about the benefits of courteous and polite behaviour, and offer several practical examples for how students can demonstrate courtesy in their classroom and at home.
Read a Book Together
Select a storybook and read it out loud with your students. You can choose a book that specifically discusses courtesy, or, if you like a bit of a challenge, select a book that demonstrates impolite actions. Read the story out loud and discuss it with your students. Ask questions such as, "What did the main character do that was impolite?" and "What should he have done instead?"
Act out several role playing games in class to practice courtesy in a variety of situations. You can practice telephone courtesy or proper table manners. Explain to your students what proper courtesy entails in these situations, and then have several students act out the scenario for a minute or two. When they are finished, talk about their courteous behaviour and how they can improve.
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