“The Gentleman’s Club”
It’s all about the manners
Educators know school is about more than good grades, it’s also a stage to develop social skills and responsibility. The first step to acquiring these critical skills is something that many of us begin learning as toddlers……. manners! Unfortunately, many kids don’t acquire this crucial social skill until they start school. It’s not easy teaching students the established curriculum let alone the needed social skills to behave.
It’s a fact, people with great manners have a powerful advantage over those who do not. They make friends easier, get along better with their teachers, and eventually make much better employees and spouses. Asking for permission, greeting others with a smile, and treating people in a friendly way can make all the difference. There is nobility hidden behind every friendly act.
Raymond Nelson, School Support Specialist at Memminger Elementary School in South Carolina, is very familiar with the lack of manners many students have. He thought of a creative way to teach this life lesson to at-risk children. Every Wednesday afternoon, 60 boys at his school dress up in ties, bowties, button-downs and blazers for an afterschool “Gentleman’s Club” — a program that teaches the power of politeness with the motto, “Look good, feel good, do good.”
The club teaches at-risk boys, many who do not have male role models in their lives, social etiquette that will help them succeed, such as how to shake hands, make eye contact, hold open doors and address elders.
According to a study conducted by California State University, Northridge, clothes may in fact make the man. The study found that people who dressed more formally are more open-minded and abstract thinkers. They can consume events, people and objects. The term “dress for success” has never looked so good.
Tips from the “Gentleman’s Club” to Teach Manners in Your Classroom:
Eye Contact and Being Fully Present
This isn’t a natural trait. It’s amazing what happens when you bring this to a child’s attention. Eye contact is the basis for feeling and showing that you are confident. Isn’t it a beautiful gift when someone pays attention to what you are saying and shows they are interested?
Handshakes and Greetings
Greet your students every morning or end the day with a handshake. What a great way to start the day. There really is an art to this transaction! Say good morning or good bye to your students or co-workers
Learn by doing! Organize a role-playing activity for your students. They can pretend they have never met each other. Teach them to say “hello, my name is”.
Sit up straight. Stand up straight. Walk with your head held high. Having good posture shows that you are confident and interested.
Teach students to put the napkin in their lap during lunch. Next, holding a fork correctly is important and shows good table manners. And, of course, chewing with a closed mouth. Dining etiquette is endless!
Do your students know how to start or carry on a conversation with each other or with someone they don’t know? We all need a few conversation starters up our sleeves!