In this reflection I will talk about a strategy that will help teachers with classroom management by teaching rules of moral behavior; this taking into account what we saw in class about routines, and rules and limits and how to set them. One of the most important things to take into account in classroom management is the setting of rules, something that has to be done together with your students; however, there are other types or rules that can help our classes, the precepts, which are quotes and mottos that can motivate and guide our students when they have to make decisions.
The use of precepts can be a very useful strategy when teaching about behavior rules and it can help guide your students when they have to make moral decisions, it is also important for classroom management if you turn this into a class routine; here is a way you can do it. At the beginning of each month you can write on the board two (or three) precepts you have chosen based on the topic you’re seeing in class (specially in social studies) or based on something that occurs in that month (mother’s day, Valentine’s day, or other). Then with your students you plan activities where they get to choose one of the precepts. That precept will be taught in different ways to the students throughout the month, it’s very important to include different activities that incorporate the four language skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking.
An example of how to do it can be the following: the first class you have in the month of May you write your three precepts with reference to mothers, then you use a type of voting method so your students will choose one of them, for example the Condorcet method (change each month of voting method). When the precept has been chosen you can plan activities (it’s important that your students contribute with the planning) during the month to teach them the precept, for example you read a poem that relates to it, show them a video, plan an activity where they have to act a moral situation, and finally they can write a short story which includes a reflection about the precept. Then, the next month you plan with them for new precepts and new activities.
The precept routine can be a very important part of your class, it will help you in your classroom management and it will guide your students in their daily lives, help them become conscientious persons. It has also the ingredient of novelty in different stages; for example when they see the precepts at the beginning of the month, in the way they choose them, and the activities regarding how they will learn them. One example of a great precept is “The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday”.