Group wants renewed emphasis on teaching etiquette

Group wants renewed emphasis on teaching etiquette (Image 1)

Some say Tennessee school kids, all school kids, need more manners, and if they had more of them, then there would be a lot fewer problems in the classroom.

It's not a new thought, but it's getting renewed emphasis from people like etiquette advocate Helen Headley Hawk.

She is behind two non-profits called Etiquette in the City and the Etiquette School of Tennessee.

“We need to raise our children with good social skills,” Hawk told News 2 on Tuesday when she was hurrying around Tennessee's Capitol Hill telling lawmakers about her ideas.

Her pitch to lawmakers was to remind them of what she calls a direct relationship between manners, social skills and failing students.

“The reason they are failing is children cannot focus on core curriculum studies, because of the disruption in the classroom, poor social skills,” she added.

Hawk said etiquette programs like those she is advocating are best implemented at Kindergarten or Pre-K levels.
“That's where they need to go immediately,” she added.

She probably won't get much argument from most teachers about the importance of etiquette, manners and discipline in the classroom.

Most educators will tell you etiquette is part of their daily chores whether it's called that or not.

“Unfortunately, we live in a society where they are not being taught in the home by the parents,”  said Rhea County teacher Rebekah James while visiting Tennessee's Capitol Hill with students.

While she accepts doing it she does not want to see etiquette as part of a curriculum or emphasis.

“I think by doing that it gives another excuse on why they should not be learning it at the home,” added the teacher.  

Many school districts say they already emphasize manners and etiquette, it's just not called that.

For example, in Metro schools, a spokesperson says it's called Social and Emotional Learning, and it's done every day.

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