Some Ideas on School Rules

Schools have always had a set of rules designed with the smooth running of the learning process, the safety, security and the happiness of the students in mind.

In the past, these school rules were often written in formal language. Today, they are written in a more relaxed language often with input from students and parents.

In other instances, classes may write their own version of the school rules in a language suitable to their age level or class situation. This allows the students to accept ownership of ‘their rules’.

Often the rules become a set of acceptable behaviour guidelines that are positive in vocabulary aimed at a positive outcome for all.

Below I have included sets of rules from different schools that I have seen as a relief teacher to give the reader some ideas to consider.

The first sets are from a Catholic school with a multicultural population with many new arrivals from overseas in a less affluent area. As a relief teacher, I go into many classes in this school. On the notice boards, I saw two alternative sets of rules, different in vocabulary but spelling out the same message in a language suitable for the specific class. The first one below was found in a Year Three classroom while the second was in an Upper School class room.

The Year Three version was as follows:

In class, we show that we RESPECT people and property when we:

• Speak nicely;
• Keep our hands and our feet to ourselves;
• Listen and do as we are told to do on the count of 5;
• Do our best work on time; and
• Put up our hands to speak.

The Upper School version follows:

• Speak nicely to all people at school. Only use nice words. Your voice is not a weapon.
• Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Never hurt anyone by angry or silly actions.
• Always obey the teacher by the count of 5. Pay close attention to what is being said or shown.
• Put your hand up to speak. Never disrupt the learning of others.
• Always try to do good work and finish on time. This includes homework, too.

This school, obviously, with its diverse population, wanted its rules to be “very user friendly”.

The next set of rules comes from a large school in an affluent area with highly educated parents. You will notice the aim of the rules and their content is very much the same as those of the previous school. These rules were also found in an Upper School classroom.

1. Take turns to speak. Listen attentively and politely and value all contributions.
2. Be mindful of your own personal space and the personal space of others.
3. Follow instructions immediately.
4. Be in the right place at the right time.
5. Look after yourself and others, your property and that of others.

Some students find the rules onerous and fail to see why they are necessary. It is therefore important for the teacher to spend time with each new class discussing the whys and wherefores of the rules. It is important to stress that they are designed to create a safe and secure place for all students to learn and grow.

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