A typical curriculum is centered around academic subjects, with an emphasis on maths, science, social studies, geography, and language. In some schools, students are even encouraged to take electives in any of those major subjects. And if a student fails maths, for example, they may be asked to take remedial classes.
While there’s nothing wrong with giving students a chance to improve their grades in a specific major subject, it encourages the idea that their competence is defined by how well they perform on those subjects alone. The education system generally focuses on academics, and tend to regard values education or character building as a minor subject.
But times are changing, and more people are realizing that a good character is unrivaled when it comes to developing a child. No matter how good someone is at maths, if they don’t show basic respect, they won’t likely succeed or make lasting relationships.
That said, it’s high time to prioritize values and good manners in a curriculum. Though these lessons are best learned in real-world experiences, they can still be instilled in a classroom setting effectively. After all, a typical child learns things in a controlled environment.
Reasons to Teach Values and Good Manners
In an article written by Paul Richard Kuehn on the website Soapboxie, he outlined the following as the reasons for schools to teach moral values:
- To prepare children for their future roles in society
- To benefit children that aren’t taught values by their parents
- To prevent the further spread of dishonesty and violence in society
- To counter bad influences in society
- Moral values are carried for a lifetime
On good manners, psychologist John Rosemond states that manners are inseparable from respect. He believes that children will never learn how to respect themselves if they do not know how to respect others — especially adults — in the first place.
Etiquette author Letita Balridge, who wrote “Manners for the New Times: A Complete Guide to Modern Manners”, holds a strong opinion on the value of manners training as well. She states that teaching good manners will help children develop self-esteem and self-confidence. She also links manners with kindness and good human relations.
Values and Manners to Teach Children in the Classroom
Kuehn recommends these values to be taught to children in class:
- Unconditional love and kindness
- Hard work
These additional core values and good manners will also be essential in their development:
To teach integrity, teachers should be honest with their role and responsibility. They must be a good example for their students, and know how to stick to their words. It’s also crucial for teachers to admit that they don’t know everything, but will get back to a student with an answer or solution. This helps students understand that learning doesn’t stop at adulthood.
Sense of Hope
Students should understand at an early age that each of them has a different learning capacity. Some might be weak at a certain area where the other excels. Hence, teachers should adjust their teaching styles to fit a certain student’s way of learning. That way, they can instill a sense of hope in them, which will give them confidence.
Sense of Urgency
Students should learn to start a project immediately and not to cram. It will help them become more effective workers in the future with superb time management skills.
No matter how young they are, students must understand that are responsible for their own words, actions, and possessions. If they hurt or mistreat someone, they must apologize; if they receive a compliment, they must say “thank you”; if they’re asked to put their things away, they must bring their own stuff to the classroom storage shelves themselves, and not ask a classmate to do it for them.
These values and manners may seem simple, but they’re the lessons that children will forever hold. So even if they thrive in academics, don’t forget that having a good character will be the main reason for their future success.