Thought starters

  1. What does it mean to attack someone's ideas instead of attacking the person?
  2. Why is consistency across subject areas important in building respect?
  3. How might you use these three principles in your classroom?
It is very important for a student to have a safe classroom environment where they feel respected. This allows a student to freely express themselves without having to worry about the pressure of their classroom peers or teacher. An inquiry based learning environment allows students to freely explore their ideas and thoughts on a subject. Respect is a very important element to a student teacher relationship.
Recommended (2)
When you think about respect in the classroom, you think about the students sitting in rows respecting the teacher regardless of their intentions or actions. Those days are long behind us. In fact, the urban environment can seem quite the opposite. Many students have defense mechanisms where they shut down when they aren't getting respect. They also are very unlikely to give respect before getting respect. There are many more elements to the life a student today then ever before. Many of these elements coming from outside the classroom. The time spent in the classroom needs to be a constant for the students. Inquiry based learning provides a safe environment for the students. It also allows the students to feel the respect they require to feel safe.
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When students attack someone’s ideas instead of attacking the person they are merely sharing a different opinion. One way I employ a culture of sharing and respect in my classroom is by using a discussion starter from the book Teach Like a Champion. Students can share differing opinions by starting with, “I understand what you are saying but I have a different opinion.” I also thank students for sharing their ideas regardless of whether they are correct or not. Being consistent with this helps to build respect for everyone’s’ thoughts and ideas.
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As teachers, we must take into cosideration that our classrom may be the one place where our students feel most safe. Looking at it in ths manner, teachers must see this as a tremendous responsibility to uphold that "safe environment". I personally feel honored to think that I may be providing a safe haven for my students where they can feel free to speak their minds and express their ideas without fear of judgment or consequence. Building a culture of respect in the classroom is planting a seed - if you will - of tolerance. It is the beginning of a new society, as educators, we must nurture.
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Yes! it is very important to create an environment of respect. Students often contradict their colleagues' opinions. Sometimes they do that deliberately. So it is the duty of teacher to understand such kind of things and create a good environment of mutual respect and tolerance. The impact of this environment will be useful for students to respect others' openion outside the school.
Recommended (1)


  • WNET / UCH Urban Academy
    “Exploring Powerful Ideas Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing a Teachers Role”


    WNET / UCH Urban Academy
    “Exploring Powerful Ideas Inquiry-Based Teaching: Discussing a Teachers Role”

    Having them figure out what their voice is, it has to be in a place of, a place where they’re going to feel respected and kids aren’t gonna jump down their throat and if they- so one of the things that is very critical to our classes is that people can say whatever they want and they can’t make a personal attack on somebody. And that’s a constant theme and new kids in the school who might be older kids from a transfer school they might not recognize that and they might get in a heated argument about somebody and the teacher will say, “Well, you made a personal attack. Can you restate that and attack his ideas only?” So I think that’s part of what the things that we’re trying to do here.

    Also the teacher not jumping down the students throat because they don’t have the correct answer or the right answer. Create a classroom where you can explore your ideas and you can take a chance on a thought or express an idea that might not be popular but yet you have the right to express that idea. That it’s understood that you’re going to be respected in the class.

    It’s so easy with our kids because I know in all the other classrooms, all the other teachers are running discussion classes, not exactly like I am but very similar, and they’re all stressing this respect for kids. They won’t let anybody make any personal attacks. So when the whole school culture’s like that, it makes individual teachers much more confident in in being able to sort of deal with the classroom structure and, and deal with getting kids to respect each other.

    (in classroom)
    You’re saying if they attack black people, after slavery ended and if they seek to sort of forcibly harm then they should be executed but they shouldn’t be executed just for having fought on the Southern side and being racist is what you’re saying. Saloul then Jamilla.

    I think extreme times call for extreme measures. And these times were very extreme times and, um, why not kill them?


    Alright. So I’m confused. Everybody’s saying what they think would have been better?

    Or, what we think could have actually been done?

    I’m asking both questions.

    Okay, well, about the first one, I guess people are saying what they think but I don’t think anyone is saying anything that could have actually been done because look at what stuff happens up until this day.

    (in roundtable)
    Kids have to feel like they trust you to sort of manage that discussion. I think that’s very important. A lot of times teachers shrink away from this. It’s because they think it’s gonna get out of control but if kids understand what the rules really are and they respect you as an arbiter of those rules they’ll take on controversy and be respectful about it and you have to learn how to manage that stuff and kids have to trust that teachers will be fair.

    *** TAPE END ***
    *** TRANSCRIPT END ***

School Details

Urban Academy Laboratory High School
317 East 67th Street
New York NY 10065
Population: 154

Data Provided By:



Sheila Kosoff
Avram Barlowe
Terry Weber
Adam Grumbach



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture