Defining Respect

6, 7, 8

Learners define respect and explore the meaning of self-respect and respect for others. They explore the relationship of respect to definitions and examples of prejudice, bias, racism and stereotype.  

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • define respect (self-respect, respect for others).
  • define bias, prejudice, stereotype, and racism and site examples of each.
Home Connection 

Have the learners ask their family members to share with them examples of bias, racism, prejudice or stereotype they may have experienced or that they have learned about from history.


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Ask the students playfully if any of them can curl their tongue. (This is a genetic trait that only some people exhibit.) When some students can do this, act impressed and respectful of their ability. After a minute, ask students how they feel about your obvious bias toward people with this trait. Ask them whether your feelings about this are harmful.

  2. Display the word respect [showing regard or esteem for]. Tell the learners that respect can apply to one's self (self-respect), can apply to others, and can apply to the environment. For the present time, they will be investigating aspects of self-respect and respect for others.

  3. Under the word "respect," create a T-chart and label the two sides: "Looks Like" and "Does Not Look Like." Ask thel earners to brainstorm words/phrases to complete the two chart sections.

  4. Highlight or add the words bias [personal judgment], prejudice [preconceived judgment], stereotype [a mental picture of a simplified opinion], and racism [belief that racial differences determine superiority] under the heading "Does Not Look Like."

  5. Arrange the class into four groups and give each group dictionaries. Assign each group one of the four highlighted words. Ask the group to agree on a definition for their word expressed in their own words, and to decide if any other words/phrases from the T-chart might fit their word's definition. (Words/phrases from the "T chart" may fit more than one word's definition.)

  6. Have one person from each group share with the class the definition and the related words/phrases from the chart.

  7. As a group, come up with examples of prejudice, stereotype, racism, and bias.

Cross Curriculum 

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills. For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Give an example of how philanthropy can transcend cultures.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.