Summer 2008     ISSN 1096-1453     Volume 12, Issue 2     Editorial (2)

Respect in the Classroom The topic of Respect in the Classroom explores the subject of respect through a variety of lenses. How do faculty exhibit respect for students? How do students display respect for faculty and for one another? What does “respect” mean in the context of each of these relationships? Although there were a limited number of submissions accepted for this Summer 2008 inaugural special issue on Respect in the Classroom, this is an interesting, current, and important topic that deserves closer examination. The range of the theme of respect is extensive and its vastness is reflected in the topics included in this issue.

First, what is “respect?” Is it simply an element of power? In “Respect - A Two-Way Avenue for Success,” Gheorghita M. Faitar examines definitions of power and explores how shifts in power in the classroom can influence respect in the learning process. Faitar, an assistant professor of education at D’Youville College, frames the discussion of the concept in the context of a multicultural learning environment.

The impact and influence of multiculturalism appears again in an article by Michele K. Lewis, an associate professor of psychology from Winston Salem State University. Lewis’s article was recognized as an Editor’s Choice selection. In “Inviting Respect for Social Justice,” Lewis describes how the principles of invitational discipline may be used to create a safe and respectful classroom atmosphere in the face of racial, gender, sexual identity and geographic context differences between and among faculty and students.

Respect does not simply mean student-to-faculty or student-to-student relationships. It can also describe the way faculty and administrators treat students. What happens when faculty and administrators do not appear to uphold their end of the psychological contract with students? This is the question explored by Morgan Milner, an associate professor of management from Eastern Michigan University, in “Unforeseen Consequences of Breach in Education.” Milner discusses the potential outcomes that occur when students perceive a lack of respect from those in charge.

Disrespectful behavior in the classroom may be only a symptom of a larger societal issue. Perhaps, as educators, our focus should be on helping students develop the tools to display respectful behaviors outside the classroom as well. Pamela Raymer’s article, “Respect that Transcends the Classroom,” emphasizes the importance of respect not only as a tool for classroom management, but also as a skill that students will need beyond the walls of the college. Raymer, a dean of academics from U.S. Army Management Staff College, suggests that by helping students develop their level of ethical reasoning ability, they will, in turn, become more respectful members of society.

These contributors to the first special issue on Respect in the Classroom have done a wonderful job of launching the topic for the readers; however, these articles just begin to scratch the surface of this thought-provoking theme. I hope that the Summer 2009 issue will have even more submissions. I encourage you to add your voice to the discussion and debate on the subject of Respect in the Classroom. How do you exhibit respect for students? How do students show respect for you and/or one another on your campus? Classroom respect is an important subject with several vantage points. This is a wonderful opportunity to share your opinions with colleagues around the globe.

For more information about the next Respect in the Classroom issue, Summer 2009, visit the following URL: Remember to submit using keyword RESPECT.

K. Denise Bane, Ph.D.
Feature Editor, Respect in the Classroom
Associate Professor of Psychology
Chair, Division of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Bloomfield College, NJ

See all published RESPECT articles.