What Japanese Etiquette Can Tell Us About Good UX Design (a.k.a. classroom management)

A professor once told me that an expert is anyone from more than 200 miles away.

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"Design" and the consumer's experience is all the rage.  The Fast Company article, What Japanese Etiquette Can Tell Us About Good UX Design, provides an insightful perspective on design philosophy.  Education has its own language for classroom management, but perhaps we can improve our practices and gain insight into best practices by changing the terminology we use.

Concepts are powerful.  Language is even more powerful.

By establishing a structure of rituals and routines, a teacher creates an environment that enables and encourages students' academic success and innovation.


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Photo of Carolyn Wendell

Gregg - I love where you're going with the idea of language being more powerful than concepts. I think like all languages, once you start to speak and listen to the words, they become engrained in your mind and who you are and you almost start speaking them unconsciously. What sorts of words and terminologies can start to engrain the culture we want to see in our schools?

Photo of Gregg Austin

I appreciate your remarks. The choice of words have to be developmentally and culturally appropriate. I, however, conduct my class and approach around the word "respect." Respect: for self, for the class, for individuals. That word has incredible power, situational flexibility, and resonance with all socio-economic demographics (especially teens). I also establish simple signals (hand gestures and terms) that identify the task/activity (transitioning to or reminder of.) This is why I like this particular article so much.

The other term I use relentlessly is "responsibility." This works for me on a couple of levels: (1) it is nearly synonymous with "respect;" and (2) it is inherent to Social Studies.

In combination, these two words offer simplicity and boundaries within which student feel: (1) free to work according to his/her level; and (2) safe to make mistakes.

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