Taking five minutes a week to teach good manners will bring virtue to life for your students! While this was originally done in a theology class, “Manners Monday” could work in any subject area, as it does not need to be directly related to what you are teaching.
Once a week for 5-10 minutes, highlight a virtue and some aspect of social graces/manners to teach the students.
If you can do role-playing (and/or have your students do role-playing), the concreteness and humor of it make it very effective: it is memorable and fun for the students, and thus something they look forward to.
Telling stories about the manners you are teaching is very helpful too, especially if you make real-life connections.
Always bring it back to the point: The point of manners isn’t just “playing the game” or being the “hostess with the mostest.” It ultimately comes down to charity and justice: acknowledging others as persons made in the image and likeness of God, thinking of their comfort and happiness, and hence “loving with justice.”
To teach virtue in middle or high school, once a week for 5-10 minutes, highlight a virtue and some aspect of social graces to teach the students.
Starting September 2021, the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist will be releasing short Manners Monday lessons on Openlight Media’s Youtube and Instagram. Subscribe now for something you won’t want to miss!
Virtue: Respect—Manners: Standing for Sisters, priests, principals, etc.
Virtue: Gratitude—Manners: How to write a thank-you note- Teaching Tip: Rule of 4: write within 4 days of receiving a gift, write 4 lines, and it should take you 4 minutes to write.
Virtue: Kindness—Manners: When someone is carrying something heavy, help them- Teaching Story: I was carrying something heavy into a store, and an employee walked by me without greeting me or offering to help; allow students to gasp and then ask whether this is good business practice or kindness.
Virtue: Courtesy or affability—Manners: Making eye contact and responding when someone greets you or speaks to you- Teach using role playing: Act out not looking at or responding to a person who greets you—have students give your greeting a grade (they will give you an F) and then act out a friendly greeting with good eye contact, friendly words.
Virtue: Courtesy—Manners: How to give a good handshake-Teach with role playing: Act out a too-vigorous handshake, a “limp fish” handshake, and a good handshake with student volunteer(s). Have students “grade” each one.
Virtue: Courtesy/affability—Manners: Introducing people & letting others into a conversation- Teaching tip: First you have to explain some of the how-to behind introductions: 1. Introduce the person of lower standing to the person of higher standing (higher by age or authority or office): “Mother, this is Billy, one of my junior theology students.” “Holy Father, this is Sr. Catherine Thomas from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.” (I wish!!!!!!) 2. Generally you introduce men to women. Exception: when the man is of a higher standing (as in the case of Sr. Catherine Thomas being introduced to Pope Francis and not the other way around). 3. You will also tell her something about the other person so that they have something to talk about. “Mrs. Jones, have you met Mr. Smith? He teaches marine biology at St. Whoever Prep. Mr. Smith, you should ask Mrs. Jones about the pictures she took on her last scuba diving trip.”
Act out a poor introduction (2 people speaking, 3rd person comes over and you do not look at them, speak to them or invite them into conversation); have students give you a grade, react to the situation.
Act out a good introduction (2 people speaking, Billy comes over, you introduce him to the other person and politely invite him in: “Hi, Billy. Molly, do you know Billy?” etc.); have the students give it a grade.