Honesty and Respect - Roopa Bhattacharyya

1. What are the most common instances of dishonest behaviour shown by students in class?

Children's behaviour is a reflection of the society that we live in. Some common instances of dishonest behaviour are – copying from another student during a test or allowing another to copy your work, unauthorized collaboration (sometimes even taking the help of commercial players for projects) on individual assignments to get high scores and sometimes even forgery!

Even small children believe that high scores/grades are most important ...... this is a reflection of the society we live in and particularly the values that the children imbibe at home.

A few years back in grade 2, a very naughty student used to do most of his classwork and get his notebooks corrected, but he rarely did his homework. He was always up to mischief and used to disturb other children. Children being naughty is normal, and other than counselling for disruptive behaviour, there is little that teachers can do.

He scored 6 out of 10 in English during the mid-term assessment, and his bench mate scored 10 on 10. What the child next did was shocking – he stole the answer sheet of his bench mate and replaced the name with his; he also rubbed out his name from his own answer sheet and replaced it with his bench mate's name and put the answer sheet in the bench mate's bag.

The truth emerged only during the next parent teacher meeting; when the bench mate's mother expressed surprise at his low score, I was surprised, as I vividly remembered giving him 10 on 10, and even the records showed 10 on 10. So, on examining the answer sheet, it was evident that the name had been rubbed out and over-written.

The child in question was counselled along with his parents and has not repeated such acts.

However, it is essential to understand why a 7-year-old would indulge in such an act of forgery... The reasons are:

a. Peer pressure to get high scores.

b. Living up to parents' expectations, even if the expectation is unrealistic.

c. Normalization of incorrect/illegal behaviour at home. A child does what he

sees, not what he is told!

2. How far is it true that you must show respect to earn respect in a classroom? Give an instance where you saw this play out.

You must indeed show respect to earn respect in a classroom. Respect encourages students to do their best. A teacher should keep calm, listen to students, use humour, not sarcasm, provide corrective feedback to foster student effort, and acknowledge student growth. Earning your students' respect requires you to be consistent, keep your word, control your frustration, learn who your students are, be patient and be kind. The key is to create the right environment where students are encouraged to ask questions and share their thoughts and ideas without the fear of being ridiculed or discouraged.

In grade 3, a student always raised his hand to answer in the class discussion but was always off the mark and talked about something unrelated to the topic. However, I ensured that he was always given a chance. One day I took him aside and explained that if he paid attention to the lessons and came prepared to the class, his contribution to the discussion would be better, and even other students would appreciate him. Within a few days, I noticed a marked change in his contributions to discussions.

When we examine this case, we realize that the student was seeking attention and once appropriately guided, he could bring out the best. A little bit of respect and trust is all it takes to create the right environment.

Roopa Bhattacharyya
Ahlcon Public School
JOL Cohort 2022

Good Schools of India Journal @ www.GSI.IN

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