Objective 5

Curriculum Objective 5: Respecting the limits of others

The curriculum recognizes that while we can teach students refusal and communication skills to deal with pressure, it would be ideal if they encountered less pressure. This is a unique aspect of the curriculum, since most other curricula never address that it’s not ok to pressure and that people need to honor each others’ limits. In order to help students identify what pressure and respect look like, in the sixth grade curriculum the educator asks the classroom teacher to do two role plays. In the first, the educator pressures the teacher to dye her hair green and the teacher clearly doesn’t want to. In the process of pressuring, the educator becomes highly disrespectful. In the second, the educator suggests the idea, but when the teacher looks uncomfortable, the educator respectfully backs down. Students discuss how their teacher felt while being pressured and what was different about the respectful role play. In this way they identify ways to be more respectful by listening, stopping the pressure and suggesting something else.

In seventh grade students develop and practice ways to stop pressuring and show respect for the other person’s limit. In role plays, the students start out pressuring someone to come over to their house when the parents aren’t home or to get their older brother to buy some beer for a party. Then they are asked what they would say to show they are listening and to show respect and to suggest something else they could do instead.

These lessons were the most difficult for the students, because it meant reversing what they had been learning and becoming the person who was pressuring, then respecting. It would probably be helpful if lessons on respecting the rights and feelings of others were part of a broader curriculum. Such lessons, along with lessons on anger management and self-control, could make the academic environment safer and more stimulating for all students.

Last modified: February 7, 2011