Our principal read to the staff an impressive, anonymous letter from a student that had been in one of our teacher’s psychology classes. It spouted the general liking for what the student could finally understand, not as class rules, but as what they called “Boundary Markers”.

To create a classroom of trust with clear boundaries for safety, accountability and hospitality for learning and growth.

Extend and receive welcome: People learn best in hospitable spaces. In this classroom we support each other’s learning by giving and receiving hospitality.

1.Be present as fully as possible: Be here with your doubts, fears and failings as well as your confidence, joy and struggles.

2.Learn to respond to others with honest, open questions. Instead of correcting others, try to help “hear each other into deeper speech”.

3.Speak what you know in ways that respect other people’s truth. Our views of reality may differ, but speaking one’s truth in the class does not need to mean interpreting, correcting or debating what others say (keep in mind that there may be times when this is appropriate and not appropriate).

4.When the going gets rough, turn to wonder. If you feel judgmental or defensive, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought his/her to this belief?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?”

5.Believe that it’s possible to come away from this class with more energy, more openness, and with more understanding of who you are.

6.Attend to your own inner teacher. We learn from others, of course, but as we explore the study of psychology, we have a special opportunity to learn from within. So pay close attention to your own reactions and responses; to your most important teacher.

7.Trust and learn from the silence. Silence is a gift in our noisy world and a way of knowing in itself. Treat the silence as a member of the class. After someone has spoken, take time to reflect without immediately filling in the space with words.

8.Leave this classroom with whatever it was that YOU needed when you arrived, and allow the seeds of psychology planted here, to keep growing in the days ahead.

Each day Boundary Markers are Examined, Reviewed and Recalled.

Certainly these Boundary Markers can be used in any class, not just psychology, but if it makes a positive impact on our classroom and how it is managed, we may have just put our best foot forward towards becoming a classroom that really taps into the what rules were really meant to be…words that work towards holding students accountable, helping them to be safe and creating an environment for growth and learning.


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