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Behavior: standing/walking in a line

Date: October 5th, 2016
By: Polly Bath

Polly Bath: Is it realistic for first graders to be able to walk in a line, being totally silent on the left side of the wall with their hands by their side, and they’re facing forward for an extended amount of time? What do you think? [laughs] It’s really not realistic. It’s not.

What I want them to do is go out in the hall, stand in line, learn to look around them, and teach them and say, “When you walk down to the cafeteria, if there’s a door open and kids are sitting at desks, that’s the time when you’re no voices at all, and you’re quiet feet, and you’re walking forward.” Teach them when and where it’s OK to talk in line or move their hands in line. They don’t know this stuff.

But if we have this blanket law that everybody has to walk down the hall where they’re facing forward, and their hands like this, and totally silent, what am I learning? I’m learning how to be compliant, but I’m not learning the reality of how should people conduct themselves in line.

You should look around you. Have you ever been in a movie theater? Have you ever gone into, like I said, an amusement park? Do you ever go to the grocery store, and you wonder where people lost the lesson? Yeah, that’s where they lost it. They never learned how to look around them and realize that you don’t be on top of someone while they’re paying for their groceries, that you put space between you.

So when I go into lines in public situations, my mind always goes there. What can I be teaching my students right from the ground up that’s going to help them to be better people later on?