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A List of Ethical Principles for Grammar School Students

by Kristine Tucker

Grammar school students, commonly known as elementary school students, can learn important life skills to help them govern their social behavior. Though they are young, children can learn to apply ethical principles to their daily lives, often leading to responsible behavior as adults. Ethics is an important part of the overall goals of an elementary classroom and encourages students to embrace appropriate and conscientious behavior.

Respect Others

Respect is an important part of ethical behavior. Grammar school students should be taught to respect each other's differences and learn to treat others how they like to be treated. Elementary school students should be encouraged not to hurt others. Purposeful physical harm should always be discouraged in the classroom, unless it's used as a last means of self-defense. Hateful words, inappropriate language and prejudicial remarks are often even more damaging than physical wounds. So students must learn that kindness and respect go hand in hand.

Be Honest

Grammar school students must learn that honesty is the only way to deal with classmates and teachers. Lying, cheating and stealing are all forms of dishonesty and often lead to broken relationships and tainted reputations. Teachers must reinforce trust and encourage students to tell the truth, even when it's not easy. They should praise students for their honesty and commend them for doing the right thing. If elementary school students don't learn to be honest in their dealings when they're young, they'll have a hard time being trustworthy adults.

Exercise Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is an important ethical principle because it helps young students learn to control their emotions, so they can be independent thinkers and productive workers. Once children are old enough to be in grammar school, they can't expect their parents to be their only ethical compass. They must learn to exercise self-control and self-discipline, even when they feel like doing the wrong thing. According to West Nyack Elementary School in New York, self-disciplined students complete classroom assignments, show patience, persevere when they have trouble learning new concepts, control their temper, avoid distractions and refuse to succumb to peer pressure. Teachers can model self-discipline so children learn to emulate the behavior. For example, a teacher might say, "I feel like saying a cross word because I just stubbed my toe, but I know that wouldn't be very considerate." Or "I know it's cold outside, but we need to do the fire drill because it's an important safety regulation we must follow."

Show Compassion

Elementary school children must learn the ethical principle of compassion, so they will learn to sympathize with those in need. It's difficult to teach love and compassion without modeling it, so teachers should use their influence in the classroom to encourage compassionate behavior. If a student is going through a difficult life event such as sickness, relocation or the death of a loved one, the teacher can instruct the class to write letters of encouragement. When a student trips and falls, gets a math problem wrong or stumbles through words when reading aloud, the teacher can politely give instruction without drawing attention to the mistake. A teacher should never tolerate or overlook students who make fun of other classmates, make unkind remarks, display aggressive behavior or use offensive language.

About the Author

As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.

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