Teaching Tip: Lying

Lying by students is a problem most teachers encounter, especially elementary school teachers. A student who lies occasionally is not a major problem. A student who lies often is a major problem. Students may lie for a number of reasons. They may want to avoid the consequences of owning up to something, they may want to cover up a mistake or failure, or they may simply want to gain attention. Whatever the reason, there are some things you can do to minimize lying by your students.
  • Be sure to model honest behavior yourself. Acknowledge a mistake of your own or apologize for something you do or say that is inappropriate.
  • Recognize the student when he or she is truthful. If a student does something wrong but admits it, focus more on the student's being truthful than on punishing the student in some way.
  • Don't ignore a lie. If a student lies and is not challenged about it, that student is likely to tell an even bigger lie the next time.
  • React calmly to a lie. If you overreact, the student will likely feel resentful, and may resolve to do a better job of lying in the future.
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