Advice for Secondary Students *
Creating and maintaining a positive environment where learning can take place is the obligation of all members of the school community. The school environment should allow learning through mutual cooperation, understanding, and respect for the rights, responsibilities and privileges of everyone at school. If these rights, responsibilities and privileges are to be maintained, and the obligation to create a positive learning environment is to be fulfilled, an acceptable and consistent manner of conduct in the classroom is essential.
Arrive on Time
If your teacher permits you to enter class late, enter as quietly and as unobtrusively as possible. Do not greet friends, noisily shuffle papers or move your desk or chair suddenly.
Do Not Schedule Other Activities During Class Time
If you must leave before the end of the class, inform your teacher before the class starts. Random exits and entrances are not acceptable and disrupt the class. Take care of personal needs before class.
Adopt a Positive Attitude
Go to class with the attitude that you are there to learn. Participating in the classroom activities in a positive manner will enhance your learning.
Make Learning your Business
Your “business” when you are in class is learning. It is your obligation to make sure that you do not disturb others. Know that your behaviour affects other students in class, both positively and negatively.
Treat your Teacher as a Valuable Resource
In class, focus on what is being said. Concentration is vital. Just as you would not care to be interrupted if you were making a presentation, don’t speak while the teacher is speaking. It’s rude, and ultimately, you’re the one who loses out. As well, your talking disturbs other students and robs them of an opportunity to learn. If you hare having difficulty understanding something, raise your hand or make eye contact with the teacher. Then wait until you are acknowledged and ask your question.
Be Aware of your Body Language
You may be sending a negative message without even realizing it. Don’t put your head on the desk or do homework for other classes. This body language communicates that you are not a serious, interested or committed student. After all, when you talk, you want people to listen to you; so does the teacher. Your inattentive behaviour is likely to affect your teacher’s perception of you and may, ultimately, affect your grade.
Be Aware of how you Communicate
Did you know that your tone of voice and your facial expressions are even more important than the words used in speaking to someone?
- To get the teacher’s attention, raise your hand or make eye contact.
- Choose an appropriate moment. Don’t use class time to discuss your own personal concerns. Don’t interrupt another person. It is better to ask the teacher when he/she can see you to ensure that your teacher will have sufficient time to spend with you.
- Don’t start a conversation with an accusation. Ask the teacher to review an assignment or test with you if you are concerned about your grade. Know the difference between assertive and aggressive. Standing up for your rights does not include shouting, threatening or being verbally abusive.
- There are positive ways and means of dealing with problems you may encounter.
Be Aware of your Choice of Words
Last, but not least, make sure your language is appropriate for the classroom. This is an educational institution. Make sure your choice of words is appropriate. Vulgar language is definitely not acceptable.
* Adapted and used by permission of Peggy McCoy, Student Services, Vanier College