Rule 2 of the Classroom Rules has been getting a lot of attention, but Rule 1 is of equal importance: Listen with the Intent to Understand. Such an obvious behavior is rarely done by students in schools. They listen with the intent to get a grade. If your students think that school is a game built around testing, then they must be constantly reminded by the adult in the room to try to learn what this rule means. In fact, the Communication Rubric with the child in the first six weeks of school is a requirement. When we enforce it, enormous stress is created in students who are used to memorizing for the grade. This reaction shows up usually in 7th grade and gets worse in 8th grade and gradually fades over the high school years when the kids don’t care anymore – the window to building quality human interaction during class with their teachers has already been closed. The result of our failure, by our not enforcing the Classroom Rules to quell the braggadocio of the kids who enjoy white privilege, has the predictable result that those kids have taken over the classrooms since American classrooms are microcosms of American society in general and the teachers, not just traditional teachers but even CI teachers, and I am thinking of many TPRS teachers here as well, have missed a golden opportunity tor implement a non-racist program in their classrooms (CI and CI alone has that potential among all forms of foreign language education options). Such kids in middle school have simply been trained – by us – that interacting with their teacher is a slightly unpleasant option. This makes it really bad for making CI work because it needs a willingness on both sides to make human conversation work. The kids who who learned in elementary school that they can use white privilege to control the social interactions in the classroom then take over their middle school classes. The teacher, too weak to stop that tendency to make the classroom all about what the white kids in it want to do and say, allows, perpetuates and even encourages exclusion because many CI teachers don’t have the courage to stop rude white kids from blurting out in their CI classes. Those kids, the future Trumps, have learned to get through school with easy grades simply by providing the information back to us in the form of a test. This is a travesty of education. In this sense, our CI classes may be the most important classes a child ever takes in school, to teach them tolerance for others and respect for adults. Rule 1 leads the way in telling them how to do it. Children cannot even function in the world without people skills and yet few if any classes that they take require them to do so. Any CI class, if it is going to work, requires participatory and reciprocal back and forth behavior so that the national standard of Communication can happen in our classroom. So why not make it our highest priority to aggressively enforce Rules 1 and 2 during class and via the rubrics? Why not enforce the Classroom Rules? We are almost committing a form of professional malpractice when we let our kids get away with tuning out or tuning into their screens or friends during class.