The Classroom: Students PR

18 01 2013

Scenario: School Classroom
Subject: Students
Topic: Positive and Negative PR Practices

It’s the start of a new semester here at BYU-Idaho, and one question that is on a lot of students minds as school starts up again is “What does my teacher think of me?” Having pondered this question many times myself I decided to interview several teachers and ask them how they form opinions about their students to see if I could come up with a general list of some good and bad PR practices for the classroom. After discussing the topic with these teachers I broke down the results into three basic categories: in class, outside class, and personal attributes.

In Class
Positives

  1. Participate by voluntarily helping other students and by asking thought-provoking questions that are pertinent to the topic being discussed.
  2. Pay attention and remain focused during class time. Students  can demonstrate this through active listening, being excited, and coming prepared.
  3. Express genuine appreciation for the teacher, the subject matter, or the classroom environment.

Negatives

  1. Be disrespectful through irrelevant or disruptive comments. Show disrespect for the classroom materials by drawing on desks, putting gum under chairs, or leaving trash and papers on the floor.
  2. Act apathetically towards learning by not paying attention, being on cell phones or computers, refusing to participate.
  3. Use unprofessional or derogatory language towards other students, such as trash-talk, or while making comments.

Outside ClassPositives

  1. Be kind and respectful to others by opening doors, using uplifting language, and being genuinely helpful.
  2. Smile and be positive because it can go a long way in helping those around you.

Negatives

  1. Be unkind or disrespectful to others through rude words or actions, mild hazing, and profanity.
  2. Ignore others through blatant public affection, getting in others’ ways while walking, and being too “plugged in” to notice others’ talking to you.

Personal Attributes
Positives

  1. Maintain good hygiene as much as possible, with the understanding that everyone is in different situations.
  2. Wear clean and modest clothes which shows that you are confident in and care about your appearance.

Negatives

  1. Wear unkempt clothing that is dirty, has lots of holes, or doesn’t fit properly.
  2. Be too extreme in fashion which immediately separates you from the rest of your classmates.
  3. Keep your hat on in class. This is an old-fashioned, but well-known rule.

After talking with the teachers it seems that all they need in order to look favorably on a student is for the student to be genuine, kind, and respectful in and outside the classroom. Students who are genuine will not portray contrasting personalities in and outside the classroom, and they will not waste the teacher or class’s time with questions or comments that aren’t personally important. Being kind is a good quality to have for anyone, anytime. For teachers it helps to create a safe environment where there will be more synergy and less problems to deal with that take away from class time. When there is respect at school students come prepared because they respect the teachers time. They also are patient with one another and encourage participation. This is not an exhaustive list of all the “dos” and “don’ts” of the classroom, but its a good place to start.

 

Here are some specific examples of positive PR activities that the interviewed teachers appreciated.

  • Write a thank you note at the end of the semester
  • “Google” the discussion topic before class and find something personally meaningful.
  • Bring treats to class for no reason (inform the teacher beforehand).
  • Set up a study group outside of class.
  • Suggest a local field trip that pertains to a future topic.
  • Give the teacher a genuine gift of appreciation or compliments.
  • Wear business dress for presentations even if it is not required.
  • Use other students’ names when responding to or building upon their comments.
  • Share applicable videos, photos, or articles with the teacher outside of class.
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