What are the norms in school
How do children learn values? What an experienced teacher who has been dealing with for a long time recommends
BERLIN. Whether in a village elementary school in Saxony-Anhalt or - as is currently the case - in a city elementary school in Berlin-Neukölln: More and more teachers are capitulating to the behavior of students who ignore all the rules and do not allow themselves to be tamed. Indeed, primary school plays an important role in teaching values. Elementary school teacher and author Julia Schlimok, who was responsible for values education at a Bavarian elementary school for many years, is convinced that values education can only succeed together with parents. A conversation about behavioral norms and role models. The article was initially published in the 10/2017 issue of the “Grundschule” magazine.
The magazine can be ordered here or individual articles can be downloaded (for a fee).
"In public discussions it is always about a threatened decline in values of the youth and how one can counteract this", this observation made Julia Schlimok, who has been working as a primary school teacher at the primary school in Mertingen for ten years. At the same time, the demand for values education that is based on social norms is growing - because such values education is necessary if coexistence is to function in a society.
For Julia Schlimok, one thing is clear: In addition to the parents' home, teachers play a key role when it comes to introducing schoolchildren to values and their importance in everyday life. That is why the primary school teacher from Bavaria keeps asking herself how values can be conveyed in primary school in close cooperation with fathers and mothers.
This article and others on the subject of conveying values in primary schools were published in the magazine “Grundschule” with the title “Promoting the good”. The magazine can be ordered here or individual articles can be downloaded (for a fee).
How can teachers convey values? And which ones should they convey? This issue of “Elementary School” is dedicated to these questions. The authors not only focus on the theoretical foundations, but also offer suggestions for practice, for example how schools as a community can develop values, how they can react when parents do not share the values that apply in everyday school life or, like religious instruction, value-based teaching Can strengthen pedagogy.
According to Julia Schlimok, as a school, the first thing to do is to find a common line with the parents. “Pull in the same direction as your parents,” is her tip for a long-term value education. Common values would have to be agreed with one another. “This can be done on the basis of a survey among those involved or as part of a parents' evening,” says the primary school teacher, describing her own experiences.
In a further step, the students should then be included in the process. It would be particularly desirable if values were developed for the entire school that are viewed as binding by all children and teachers. Each school has to decide for itself which one to choose - the decision is also dependent on school-specific features (such as catchment area or proportion of foreign students), class-specific features (conspicuous students, class climate and so on) as well as the individual wishes of the Involved.
Julia Schlimok herself conducted a survey among schoolchildren and parents and asked which values they find particularly valuable. The result is a list of nine values that all members of the school family could agree on - although the order does not say anything about their value:
- Sense of responsibility,
- Tolerance and
- Sense of order.
However, this definition of the values is only the first step, as Julia Schlimok emphasizes. Because when it comes to values education, it is about more than just insisting on adherence to the established norms of behavior. Rather, the students should experience what a value-oriented approach means for themselves and for those around them. “Only when pupils become aware of the why can value-oriented personality development make sense in the long term,” explains the elementary school teacher.
to be a role model
The whole thing sounds very theoretical at first, of course, but the teacher also has very practical examples of how this direct experience can work. “Especially in daily interactions, there are always opportunities to convey values in everyday life.” Let's take a look at reliability, for example: The teacher should regularly check the students' homework and appreciate its cleanliness or completeness. “Also, if possible, add brief comments to the student's performance. This way, your protégés feel that their reliability is recognized and valued, ”recommends Julia Schlimok.
The most important thing, however, is that teachers are aware of their role model function. "Young schoolchildren in particular like to act in accordance with what they have been shown by their respected people," says Julia Schlimok. This applies, for example, to the sense of order: "Teachers should also show every day that they can keep things tidy, so don't leave piles of paper on the desk and regularly clean up their own workplaces." Help and advice or convey politeness by using polite manners such as “please” and “thank you” in daily conversations with the students. There are little things that are unfortunately sometimes forgotten in the stressful everyday life.
For this reason, too, it can be important to introduce rituals. In addition, rituals provide security and reduce fears. They structure the daily interaction in the school. “Every teacher knows: Introducing rituals takes time, just as their consistent implementation requires a lot of time and energy,” says Julia Schlimok, “at the same time, from an organizational point of view, they make everyday life much easier because, for example, they create calm and thus save valuable teaching time. “There are rituals for almost every situation - some of them make sense, some less. Julia Schlimok therefore recommends carefully considering which rituals can be implemented in each individual case and help to achieve the desired goal.
Planning projects - an example
Ideally, values education should also be deepened together with students, parents, staff and school management within the framework of projects. "Make the content of such a project dependent on the individual needs of the students or parents - choose a value and work harder on it," advises Julia Schlimok.
She herself can, for example, recommend working on the introduction of feel-good mottos or on the implementation of a social topic that focuses on different areas of value education and supports personality development. Different groups should be included in the selection of the mottos or topics, such as student committees (for example within the framework of a values working group), the parents' council, the values education officer of the school and the teaching staff. Everyone involved can jointly consider how long a motto will be worked on. “For example, you can set out to focus on a feel-good motto for a week or a month and then work on it,” says Julia Schlimok. The elementary school teacher mentions various ways in which a motto could be formulated: “Mindfulness and politeness always win! If you enter a room through a door, always hold it open for the person behind you. ”Or: Politeness is the be-all and end-all -
we greet each other and look each other in the eye! Or: some things will stay the same in the new school year, because with us, the sound makes the music! We speak to each other politely and always use the words THANK YOU and PLEASE!
According to Julia Schlimok, it is important to work actively with the selected social topic: "If the motto is simply hanging somewhere in the school building or in the classroom without comment, the students do not deal with it." compliance works within and outside of the class community. Are the words “please” and “thank you” used sensibly - also during the break? Does everyone clear their rubbish away at the end of the school day? Do the students offer each other help?
Julia Schlimok also sees the relevance of values education as being based on social change: According to her observations, for example, new family structures mean that the social association “family” can no longer be assumed as a mediating body for basic values; at the same time, the demand on schools to convey values is growing. In addition, globalization demands that people be more open to other cultures and ways of life, which makes intercultural learning particularly necessary.
Overall, it is the task of schools and teachers to find ways in everyday school life that help to attract value-oriented personalities. Julia Schlimok: Of course, that doesn't happen overnight, but requires a lot of patience and sensitivity on the part of everyone involved. But: "Values education is always worthwhile!"
The magazine can be ordered here or individual articles can be downloaded (for a fee).
As a teacher, it is important to agree on common basic values that are characterized by certain requirements for each individual. In doing so, three learning areas in particular should be taken into account:
1. Build a culture of interaction through:
- common rules and rituals,
- Culture of controversy,
- democratic structures
- and the ability to compromise.
2. Lay the foundation for a work culture. These include:
- Care and accuracy of work,
- Cleanliness and tidiness,
- realistic self-assessment,
- Critical ability,
- Teamwork and
3. Promote a culture of responsibility. This is characterized, among other things, by:
- a responsible use of open spaces,
- taking responsibility for oneself and for others,
- the ability to stand up for or against something and
- the quality of being trustworthy.
Primary school writes fire letter (again!): Almost only children with learning disabilities or behavioral problems - and fewer and fewer healthy teachers
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