The Importance of Being Civil to Others

I read a great post by Andrew Campbell this morning, Why Teaching Digital Citizenship Doesn’t Work.

He writes:

We need to stop teaching Digital Citizenship with long lists of rules and instead reinforce basic Citizenship. Provide students with a set of positively framed principles to apply to all situations, digital and analog. Students don’t need more rules; they just need to apply the ones they’ve already got. The same ones they learned in kindergarten.

While this post was written in 2013, it is just as relevant today. I would go even further, adults also need to learn to follow the rules of civility. Andrew reposted this blog as part of a larger conversation on civility and respect using digital media. Another participant,

Another participant, Rolland Chidiac made this important comment:

Rolland’s tweet makes a great point, but a sad one. People routinely treat people badly and feel that they can get away with it because they are distanced by the phone or digital media.

As educators, we should strive never to do this. We should be holding ourselves to a higher standard and we should be acting as an example to our students.

I am writing this to comment on a really good twitter discussion and because I witnessed an incredible lack of civility displayed by a fellow administrator today.

Following the rules of civility, I will not get into the details, apart from saying this administrator has done an excellent job at making sure I could not return to my former school to do a presentation on a fundraising climb I took part in to Mount Kilimanjaro earlier this year.

Some people just don’t understand what it means to be gracious and civil and I really believe people like this need reconsider why they are in education. In a world dominated by Donald Trump Tweets and bickering, we need to show more grace and compassion when we are dealing with others. Students, parents, and colleagues.

Following the guidelines set out in this morning’s tweets, I would be happy to confront this educator and explain this to them. Unfortunately, nothing would change and that is too bad.

In a world that is growing crueler and less civil, we really need to reflect on this. Our actions have consequences, our actions can really hurt other people – this is something we should never do.

Thanks to my wonderful twitter friends for a great discussion, very timely based on my experiences today.



3 thoughts on “The Importance of Being Civil to Others

  1. Paul –
    I always was taught that as we get older we are supposed to get wiser and more compassionate.
    I have learned as I have gotten older, this is certainly not always the case for any of us. It seems that our world has forgotten the golden rule, “treat others as you would want to be treated”. There is an overall lack of self-reflection and self-correction, of reaching out beyond the “protection” of institutions to connect with someone. It is now harder (but still necessary) to be honest and to be kind, and to not always be protecting yourself. I know this as an adult and as a teacher. I examine myself and my actions a lot. Some see this as self-doubt, I see it as honesty and being there for others.
    I am sorry you have met up with someone who was rude and uncivil when the situation required the exact opposite. They lost an opportunity. And, if they are one of the many who hide behind institutional pratter, e-mails and the excuse of “I’m too busy for this”, then they are the ones who are missing something – both in themselves and in the opportunity to have an honest, if uncomfortable encounter with another person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: This Week in Ontario Edublogs – doug — off the record

  3. Pingback: The Importance of Being Civil to Others Part II – Whole-Hearted

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