Big Idea: Respect

May 13, 2019

man and woman shaking hands - showing respect

Find out what it means to me

 — Otis Redding

Respect is a really Big Idea. The definition seems straightforward, yet it carries nuanced interpretations and corresponding actions depending on geography, culture, community, and generation. We make significant decisions based on our understanding or respect and perceptions of disrespect. Respect often sits at the heart of the issues we see in relationships, families, classrooms, schools, communities, and the world. The media brings us daily reminders of the danger of not understanding each other’s definition of respect and disrespect.

When we do not directly address the meaning and actions of respect we operate with a hidden and potentially incorrect set of assumptions. As we enter into short and long term relationships the assumptions and misconceptions about respect will be problematic and in some cases result in tragedy.

A deep discussion on respect is critical for understanding each other and improving relationships.


Big Idea: Respect
Essential Question: How do we develop a deep dialogue about respect to building stronger relationships and communities
Challenge: Demonstrate respect in your relationships, family, classroom, school, and community.

Sample Guiding Questions

These are only example questions we encourage you to ask as many personal and contextual questions as possible.

  1. How do I define respect?
  2. How do we define respect?
  3. How do societies and cultures define respect?
  4. Does someone deserve respect because of their position, title or uniform?
  5. What happens when someone believes they should be respected and they are not respected?
  6. How does respect impact relationships?
  7. What does it mean to show respect?
  8. Who should be respected?
  9. Why should they be respected?
  10. etc.

*Once you brainstorm all of the questions organize and prioritize them.


Guiding Activities and Resources
These are only a set of example activities and resources and the learners will need to evaluate the quality of the content. They are not verified or necessarily supported, just examples. The ones that you choose should be in direct relationship to your specific guiding questions and context. Activities and resources for adults, adolescents, and younger children will be different. The goal is to develop solutions that mean something in your community and are sustainable.

Example Activities

  1. Develop a personal definition of respect
  2. Interview friends, families and communities to understand their definitions of respect
  3. Interview teachers, police, coaches, etc to understand their definition of respect
  4. Identify issues in the news where there are conflicts in the definition of respect.
  5. Explore the idea of respect in history and literature
  6. Identify the qualities of respect – what does it look like?
  7. Identify the qualities of disrespect – what does it look like?
  8. etc.

Example Resources

  1. Respect: What does it really mean?
  2. Lessons and activities for teaching respect
  3. Activities for Understanding Respect and Diversity


Using the research findings from your Investigations develop a synthesis that demonstrates a clear understanding of the challenge. For help with creating a synthesis explore this resource.

Solution Prototypes – Using your research synthesis create multiple ideas for solutions and review each one to make sure your research supports it. Share the prototypes with various stakeholders and get feedback.

Solution – With the feedback from the stakeholders develop one solution that has the most potential for success.

Solution Development –  Develop, create, organize, build, etc.  your solution. This is a great opportunity to learn new skills. 


Implement – Develop a plan to implement the solution with the stakeholders and collect data about the impact.

Evaluate – Using quantitative and qualitative measures determine if the solution is valid and what can be improved.


Throughout the experience take time to document the events and reflect on what is happening to build on prior knowledge and identify future questions.

Share what you learned with your local community and the world. Use #CBLWorld on social media.