Simple Rules to Shape the Pattern of Learning and Interaction

Middle School Linguistic Landscape picture

A linguistic landscape can be found on any school campus – it is essentially the way in which language – both written and verbal – is used to covey the beliefs and foundations of an organization. As a fall semester student teacher at Lawson Middle School in Cupertino, Ca, I had the privilege of experiencing and discovering exactly what Lawson values: the whole child.

Through their Simple Rules, a district-wide motif, the teachers and administrators give students opportunities to see the best in themselves and those around them. Each rule invites students to value their own thoughts and, in turn, value the perspectives of others. These rules can overlap, challenge, and complement one another, reflecting the complexity and beauty of what it means to be human. While a student may be “searching for the true and useful,” she may also be challenged to “learn in every interaction,” as another student expresses a different point of view. 

These rules reach beyond academics and challenge students to reflect on their lives in any situation, whether it be a social interaction, a personal difficulty, an emotional experience, or a moral question. Are they acting with courage both when learning new curriculum and when meeting a new friend? Are they building on the assets of others as they work in math groups and when they join a friendly basketball game?

These Simple Rules are lenses through which Lawson helps students evaluate themselves and the world around them in order to see what can be improved and what is already beautiful. In this ever-changing, multicultural world, any child with an ability to implement these Simple Rules throughout his life is already miles ahead of his peers. In the following video, you will see the specific opportunities that Lawson offers its students to voice their thoughts and opinions. The power of a student's voice is valued here! Well done, Lawson and Cupertino School District.

Simple Rules:

  • Teach and learn in every interaction
  • Search for the true and useful
  • Engage in joyful practice
  • Act with courage
  • Build on the assets of self and others
  • See, understand, and influence patterns in the whole, the part, and the greater whole


See Tawny's video here

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