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Teaching Manners



A 1999 ABC News survey revealed that 73 percent of Americans feel our manners are worse today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Although character education is a hot topic in schools across the nation, education in manners often receives scant attention. With growing demands on teaching time, etiquette is rarely a priority. It might be a mistake to ignore the adage that actions speak louder than words, however. Teachers who "teach" manners say they notice a real difference in students' attitudes, in the way they treat one another, and in their schoolwork.

Learn More About Teaching Manners

Do Good Manners Contribute to Academic Success?
Education World speaks with school etiquette consultant Linda Williams about what etiquette is, what educators can do to help students learn proper etiquette and good manners, and how practicing good manners can help children achieve academic success.

Manners and Etiquette: Teaching Essential Ingredients for Success
Whether they use a formal curriculum or simply take advantage of serendipitous opportunities, teachers are taking good manners off the back burner. Included: Discover two different approaches to achieving the same goal -- better manners!

Students Learn Respect-- Thanks to Good Manners
Aretha Franklin sings for it. Rodney Dangerfield never gets any. Many educators teach it every day. Included: Web resources for teaching about respect and good manners through stories, poems, songs, games, biographies, lesson plans, and activities.

The Essential 55: Rules for a Lifetime
Former Teacher of the Year Ron Clark believes teaching manners will lead to confidence, pride, and self-esteem. In this Education World interview, Clark talks about his best-selling book, The Essential 55: Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child.

Mind Your Manners: Books Help Out
Three recent books use popular formats to remind students about good manners. Use the books with kids of all ages, and then let them create their own "manners manuals." Your students are sure to thank you for a fun -- and educational -- classroom lesson.

Bad Manners
Imagine you live in a world where people have no manners. Write an imaginary conversation between two people. At least one of those people should have awful manners. Student work sheet included.

Sharing Under the Sea
Children need to learn to share and express their feelings appropriately. This lesson - using the children's book The Rainbow Fish -- fosters communication, builds social skills, and stresses politeness.

Classroom Problem Solver: The Rude Student
The basic mission of school is to teach children the three R's, however a fourth R merits teachers' attention as well. That R stands for respect. Students also need to learn the importance of acting respectfully toward their teachers and classmates.

Eighteen Books for Teaching About Character Across the Grades
This list of "books of character" includes Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug, the story of an ill-tempered bug who won't say please or thank you, won't share, and thinks she is bigger and better than anyone else.


  • Be a Good Friend Reinforce good manners with literature-based activities from Clifford the Big Red Dog.
  • Good Manners Everywhere This lesson focuses second and third graders on good manners in e-mail communications, called "netiquette."