Seth Godin notes, there’s a huge difference between this:
THERE ARE NO REFUNDS, NO
THERE ARE NO EXCHANGES ON PLANTS.
ALL LISTED CONDITIONS MUST
BE MET IN ORDER TO RECEIVE EQUAL OR LESSER VALUE EXCHANGE. THERE ARE NO
EXCEPTIONS. MANAGER RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE SPECIAL
At Surroundings, it’s really important to
us that you be delighted (not just happy). Please keep your receipt and be sure
to bring it with you if there are any problems. We’ll be happy to exchange any
cut flowers that aren’t just right–we’ll give you a store credit or any other
item in the store of equal or lesser value. Unfortunately, we can’t exchange
plants. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask any of us for
I think it’s safe to say that most of our school rules are written like the
former, not the latter. No wonder students grumble about the rules so much.
Couldn’t we find ways to make our rules, policies, and guidelines more
palatable, more positive, and more pleasant? They might go over better with our
I agree that school rules can be negatively themed at time, but changing verbiage still doesn’t change the spirit of what is being said.
“No running in the hall” vs “Please walk”….does it truly make a difference? Adults are still telling children how to behave.
Or as a parallel: “Speed Limit: 55” vs “Please don’t drive fast…you might crash and die and we’d miss you.”
Better perhaps to get rid of signs and instill a better feeling of ownership of students towards their schools. I find it ironic that students will wear shirts that say “Defend this house” (in reference to sports) or that players will not allow another team to come to their home field and “disrespect” them….yet some of these same students will still do things to disrespect their “own house”.
Barry, I agree with you that changing wording without intent and underlying ownership issues doesn’t do too much for us other than to set a more positive tone. However, given that wording changes (particularly with the revised intent that you highlight here) might better convey respect for students and affirm their personal dignity, we might get more to actually pay attention. I know I tend to respond more positively when people are nicer and more polite rather than simply saying ‘No, you can’t do that’ all the time.
We have two rules at our house for our kids: Be Safe and Be Nice. I know schools can’t be this general but so far they’re working well.
Quite by accident I ran across this today:
What do your school signs say about your school culture?