Whenever you have people gathering in one place, there need to be rules to govern how they interact with each other. This is true even when there isn”t a specific reason for them being in the same place. Just to make sure that people can be in the same location without assaulting each other or robbing each other, we need some basic rules in place for how people ought to interact. But when people are in the same place for a shared purpose (for instance, when people are in a classroom together to learn), there are even more behaviors that they ought to not participate in, and even more behaviors that they should be encouraged to participate in. Of these additional behaviors that ought to be encouraged within the classroom, we can classify them into two categories: behaviors that are good because they promote learning and behaviors that are good because they show respect between students.
It should be fairly obvious why behaviors that promote learning are good classroom behaviors. The purpose that unites people in the classroom, after all, is learning. Behaviors that promote that purpose should be encouraged when possible. Into this category we can sorta few behaviors. One of them is orderly behavior. Outside of the context of the classroom, excessive noise or motion can be tolerated, but because the students must be able to focus well on what the teacher is saying or what they are working on in order to learn, the classroom should be relatively quiet and there should be no moving around. Another is asking questions when appropriate. While it may seem that a student who never needs to ask the teacher questions appears to be more intelligent or more in command of the material, asking good questions to clarify confusing material helps everybody learn better. Obviously, this does not include questions that are asked in order to be entertaining or with the purpose of wasting time, but only questions that are asked because the student sincerely believes that the teacher”s answer can clarify some aspect of the material.
The second category of behaviors that are good within the classroom are behaviors that show respect for others. Generally speaking, one will have the same classmates and teacher for at least the semester and possibly the entire year. It is not good for anyone if some students feel disrespected by others, or if the teacher feels disrespected by the students. we can name a few good classroom behaviors that fall into this category. The first such behavior is showing willingness to work with anyone, especially those students who are less popular. Feelings of social exclusion contribute to general social anxiety and an unwillingness to take risks in public. A second behavior is neither bragging about nor exhibiting anger about one”s grade. Bragging about one”s grade may make others feel inferior or inadequate, whereas being upset about a grade that another might consider relatively good can be similarly disheartening. Finally, to show respect for teachers, students ought to endeavor to turn in all work on time, or early if possible. Getting late work puts a teacher in a difficult position. If they accept it, they are giving themselves the extra work of grading the assignment when they did not plan to; if they do not accept it, they are seen as being unfair.
These two classifications of good classroom behavior should be useful in understanding why it is so important to engage in certain classroom behaviors and refrain from others. Classifying behaviors that we think are good based on what purpose they serve is a good way to remind ourselves and others to engage in those behaviors. It also provides a good way of understanding the mindset of those who want to enforce or promote those behaviors.