Students are expected to demonstrate integrity in the classroom, but how often are they given the chance to practice modeling it? Teachers have an enormous obligation to do what’s right, and as role models they’re given that opportunity each day. But in order to achieve a student-centered environment, kids need to be encouraged to showcase who they are and what they value. Practicing these skills is necessary so that students' actions will be consistent with their beliefs and they'll then be able to listen to the feelings and concerns of others without judgment.
With digital technology amplifying social interaction and expression, it's more important than ever to not only inspire integrity, but also prepare students for the tough choices that lie ahead. Luckily, there are ways to harness the collaboration and communication features of digital tools to keep students honest about the originality of their work, make them more accountable for their decisions, give them a place to stand up for what’s right, and let them work together to uncover the truth.
Check out these tools for ways to give students a platform to demonstrate their honesty, courage, and integrity in the classroom.
Encourage original work and give feedback with Turnitin, where students submit writing assignments and the site detects plagiarism and improper citation. Discuss the importance of originality, giving credit to others, and the consequences of plagiarism in education and pop culture. Students can also give helpful but honest feedback on each other's work with Turnitin’s PeerMark feature.
With Remind, teachers can safely text due-date reminders for assignments right to the phones of students or parents. While this won’t necessarily mean the days of late homework are over, students will be held more accountable for their choices. Students can demonstrate their integrity by owning up to missed deadlines and using the two-way messaging service to give real explanations for why work is late.
This reporting tool allows students to take action against bullying by easily texting information or sharing a picture or video. Since reporting is anonymous, students are encouraged to “do the right thing” without fear of a backlash. Educators can develop and demonstrate guidelines that show students when and why they should report bullying and how showing integrity sometimes means making tough decisions.
NowComment is an online platform that helps groups of students mark up and have conversations about texts, websites, videos, and more. Students can upload and annotate online media to determine if it’s satire, propaganda, or downright false. Working together as fact-finding detectives, students can talk about how harmful misleading information can be and how they can work together to promote the truth.
This article’s content is an extension of the We All Teach SEL blog series from Common Sense Education. Check it out for a complete look at social and emotional learning in the classroom.