Promoting kindness in the classroom ultimately begins through modeling. A child’s behavior has a direct correlation between personal experiences and observations. The classroom teacher plays an equally vital role in a child’s life as does a parent. Therefore, it is important for all adults who interact with children on a daily basis to understand and remain aware that children are constantly watching, learning, and repeating what he or she hears and sees.
In the classroom, teachers are with children throughout the day, five days a week, for almost a full ten months a year. Therefore, teachers become important modelers of various behaviors, especially kindness. In addition, teachers are also influential role models in more ways than just academic enrichment, but also a student’s well-being both inside and outside the classroom. Having a “great” teacher is essential to the promotion of kindness inside and outside the classroom. This can also eliminate bullying – and bullying behaviors. If this is promoted at an early age and continued throughout the child’s academic career, it should bridge any gaps and create positive lifestyles with kindness exuding in every aspect of his of her life.
When teachers show their students what it looks like and sounds like to be kind, it provides students a fair chance to repeat what they see and hear. While there are many methods to promote kindness, here are some popular techniques that have proven to work.
Have you ever heard of the book, How Full is Your Bucket? This book is an excellent choice to read to your class at any time of the year. However, it may be most beneficial to read this at the beginning of the year to help build and establish an atmosphere of community and family. The story uses the symbol of a bucket to show that every person has an invisible bucket. When that bucket is full, we feel full and great inside. However, when that bucket is empty, we feel empty and awful inside. This book does a great job at not only teaching children the importance of being a great bucket filler, but also showing them that filling someone’s bucket also fills your own. It also promotes a sense of “paying it forward.”
Now, think back to your first days of school or even your first days of work at a new job. Team building exercises were quite commonly used to help build a sense of community and create friendships and positive work relationships. However, such team building is a necessary tool even in the classroom to promote kindness. Team building encourages social skills, which are vital in everyday life. It is important to teach kindness, but to take it a step further, it is even more important to teach children to be kind and respectful toward others with diverse backgrounds. Through this process, he or she will ultimately learn how to gain a respect, an appreciation, and an understanding of what it means to fully understand kindness and promote it throughout his or her life.