Etiquette refers to a set of customary rules considered as good or polite behavior in society, social class, or group that mirrors cultural and conventional norms as well as the unwritten codes of different social groups that we belong to. These manners aids in demonstrating our regard and consideration to others, which are important in socializing and maintaining good relations with other people. Without them, people would be reduced to animals and beasts that are only guided by pain and pleasure. “Survival of the fittest” and “every man for himself” would govern society and chaos and unruliness will ensue.
Etiquette Begins at Home
The home is the place where you begin to learn how to walk and talk. Your parents, siblings and everyone else you interact with are your first teachers. Consequently, how you act and relate to people and your manners are first shaped at home. This is precisely why how you behave or conduct yourself in public is attributed to your home. Your good or bad attitude is reflective of your parents’ manners or attitude.
Why would you go to school in the first place?
Schools are social institutions whose primary function is to teach people. Children go to school to formally learn. With the advent of the Internet, practically everything we need to know or learn can be accessed through the Internet. However, people still prefer going to school to study. Here are the advantages of learning etiquette in a formal classroom setting in a school.
Learn from Professionals – Schools have experts who specialized in imparting knowledge to students. These teachers underwent training to effectively share and instill knowledge to learners. They have dedicated their lives in the study of specific subjects to be an expert or specialist so that they can provide in-depth and comprehensive knowledge. They also have developed skills and strategies to make the learning of subjects including manners more enjoyable, lasting and relevant for the better retention of students. As such, you can learn better if you attend a formal school of etiquette than learning informally from average people.
Gain from Organized Learning – Learning in school is more organized. This institution follows a curriculum that ensures that everything you need to learn about proper etiquette is covered. Aside from the optimal sequence of instruction, the curriculum also includes other activities and strategies such as essays, assignments, practicum, quizzes, case analysis and other instructional formats that are designed to ensure enhanced learning experience for students to effectively impress upon knowledge.
Facilitate Collaborative Learning – Learning is a dynamic activity that requires collaboration with other people. Schools simulate and promote collaborative learning by grouping like-minded individuals or students who share the same goals to learn in the form of a classroom. The classroom setting allows students to share their experiences, review and evaluate each other, and engage in discussions. This stimulates and enhances critical thinking which is important in the learning process. Students are not mere recipients of information, they should be active creators of knowledge by learning how to craft opinions and arguments and to evaluate or challenge old knowledge.
Availability of online / distance education – With the advances of the Internet, some etiquette school now offers online education to address the problem of travel commute and schedule. In this way, students can enjoy the benefit of formal learning at the convenience of their home that is flexible to their time schedules and saves them time and money spent on traveling to school.
Should they teach us manners at elementary/high school?
Ethical manners should be taught at elementary or high school to kids for the following reasons:
Children need good manners to succeed in life – Success in life means that you can achieve happiness and a sense of fulfillment in your life which may not necessarily be in the form of attaining wealth. And to achieve them, a person should be able to conduct himself in a meaningful and mannered way to establish good social relationships with people.
Learn manners while young – People should learn good proper behavior while still young when they are still more receptive to change. Adults tend to be less open to behavioral changes because they have already a well-developed personality which they acquire through years of experience and breeding. Biologically speaking, children are also more receptive because their brains are more impressionable unlike an adult brain whose prefrontal cortex is more developed and storage capacity is almost full.
Creating a Better Future – That the children are the future of the world is a tedious yet incontestable fact. One way to make a better world in the future is by making sure that the future people in the world are well mannered. This means teaching the children at school with proper etiquette. Else, we will end up with immoral and debauched citizens that can trigger the decline of civilization in the future.
Parents may not have time – Because of the demands of modern society, most parents in ordinary families needed to work full time to cover the bills. The hard-working mothers and fathers usually relegate the duty of imparting knowledge to teachers. Many depend on schools for the education of their children, which included teaching proper etiquette.
Parents may not be qualified – Unfortunately for some children, some grow up with parents who are not exactly good role models. Instead of teaching their children to be good, some parents become part of the problem and contribute to shaping the ill manners of a child. This is especially true with families living in poverty and destitution. Parents living in depression or other debauched living conditions can corrupt a child. Thus, the proper intervention of educational institutions or social welfare may be required to nurture proper manners and help a child to grow correctly.
School is the best place to learn – Proper etiquette is best taught in schools because it is a place where children begin to socialize more and their behavior begins to become more functional and productive. Unlike at home where they are familiar with the people in their environment, children start to socialize with total strangers through their classmates and teachers, who potentially become their friends. It is also the place where they interact with other people with their assignments, projects and other curricular activities. The school serves as a microcosm of society where children can apply proper etiquette and see how it operates in the real world. Learning etiquette is therefore enhanced because it involves practical hands-on experience at school.
What is taught at etiquette school?
Etiquette is a very broad and varied subject. It covers different activities and situations, purposes and functions. Etiquette schools do not merely provide students with a list of dos and don’ts. They explain the rationale behind proper or expected behaviors so that learners can have a better grasp of these norms. Here are some things that are taught in an etiquette school.
Proper Hygiene – One of the basic etiquettes that a person learns from school is proper hygiene. Hygiene is a fundamental component of etiquette because it deals with the health of a person and others. It includes behaviors on how to keep yourself clean and neat for your health and to prevent the potential transmission of disease. Improper hygiene not only elicits a response of revulsion from others but can also lead to illness and worse a plague in society.
Social Manners – This is a set of socially acceptable behaviors that you are expected to perform when dealing with others to promote good social relationships, which is integral for better social cohesion. Good manners essentially display one’s inclination to put the welfare or wellbeing of others before oneself; to demonstrate self-discipline or restraint to handle adverse or hostile situations; as well as to show good intentions aimed at creating the impression that you are trustworthy during social interactions.
Cultural Norms – Etiquette depends on culture, which turn is shaped by nationality or ethnicity, religion, social class, profession, and other social factors. These norms are so varied that they can sometimes be conflicting. What is good etiquette for one culture may be bad or shocking to another. For instance, some cultures find eating hands as unethical. Others find this as the proper way to eat. Other cultures find noisily slurping noodles as disgusting. Others find this as a way to show appreciation for food. This is one area in which etiquette schools specialize. Cultural norms vary from place to place. Etiquette schools can teach you the proper way to behave in a particular culture or group so that one can effectively and properly conduct oneself. Companies who are expanding in a foreign country, for instance, can seek the help of etiquette schools to train their employees about the business etiquette of a particular country to prevent behavioral mishaps or misdemeanors and ensure smooth business operations.
New Manners – Etiquette continuously evolves and changes to abreast human behavior with the changes in society brought about by technology and other factors. New conventions entail new ways of behaving properly. For instance, proper manners for online chatting evolved because of the advancement of information technology. In the same way, proper manners for talking and using mobile phones in public came to existence with the introduction and proliferation of cellular phones. Etiquette schools closely monitor new ethical norms that evolve in modern society to teach adults and help them keep abreast or be responsive to the changes in modern society.
What would be the cost?
The cost for attending an etiquette school varies immensely depending on numerous factors such as the course length, course topics, materials, package, type of student, location, name of the school and other value-added services.
Courses can range from $150 an hour to $1000 per hour. Some schools create group packages e.g. corporate package which help lessen the price as you can avail of a group discount. Still, others provide promotional discounts during certain seasons.
No matter how much an etiquette class may cost, learning proper etiquette is always worthwhile. After all, no amount of money can buy a good person. Good manners are priceless.
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