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Promoting a culture of mutual respect in the classroom 

Free professional blog for English teachers

Mutual respect in the classroom: Why and how

Mutual respect in the classroom is about more than just the relationship between student and teacher. A culture of mutual respect means that your students also treat each other well. The result is an atmosphere in the classroom where the children feel safe, motivated to learn and, of course, respected. It’s not always easy to create this type of feeling in the classroom but we want to help you get there. 


This week we want to dig into exactly how we create a culture of mutual respect in the classroom


  1. What is mutual respect?
  2. What does mutual respect look like? 
  3. How to create a culture of mutual respect in the classroom.

What is mutual respect? 

Naturally, it is impossible to create a culture of mutual respect without first understanding exactly what mutual respect involves. Mutual respect is about everyone being valued for exactly who they are and what they can do. It is about valuing each individual’s contribution and recognising and respecting differences whilst also celebrating diversity in the classroom.  


What does mutual respect look like?

Mutual respect in the classroom means not treating each other in a rude or disrespectful manner between your students it may mean no name calling, insults or words intended to demean each other. Between students and teacher mutual respect may look more like treating all students the same, respecting boundaries, no yelling or threats.


How to create a culture of mutual respect in the classroom.

So now we know what a culture of mutual respect is and what it looks like, how do we create such a culture and maintain it? 


1. Lay out your expectations on the first day

Be clear about what you are expecting from your students, let them know what type of language and behaviours will be allowed. Make the rules and expectations visible and post them on the wall of the classroom. 


2. Model respectful behaviour

As the saying goes “if you want respect, you have to give respect” so model the behaviours you expect to see in your students on a daily basis. Talk to your students the way you expect to be spoken to.


3. Be consistent

Enforce the rules fairly and consistently, it’s important not to play favourites. Ensure that if you need to talk to a student about their behaviour do so in private away from the other members of the class. 


4. Be flexible

Life happens after all, one of the best ways to model respect within your classroom is to be sensitive to the fact that life events are often outside of a person's control and as a respected teacher you are willing to adapt and change your plans when necessary. 


5. Have a sense of humour

A sense of humour keeps the classroom atmosphere relaxed. Your students are bound to enjoy their lessons more if they feel their teacher is open and approachable with a calm and happy demeanour.


For more tips on creating an atmosphere of mutual respect within your classroom read our hand-picked resources here: and



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Written by Rebecca Sparling

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