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Teaching Strategies to Instill Honesty

Janelle Cox

Honesty is an important quality to have. When you are an honest person, people will trust you more, and your relationships will thrive. Being an honest person is important because it not only helps to build trust in your relationships, but it also helps to improve them. It helps you grow as a person and teaches you to use your words wisely so you won’t hurt anyone. Honesty is a quality that many children are born with. Have you ever listened to a student be a little too honest? This is because they are still learning to choose their words wisely. Oftentimes, young children just speak their truth because that’s all they know. However, as they grow up they learn to lie and be dishonest. Luckily, as a teacher you have the platform to use teaching strategies to teach students how to be honest human beings. This is a character trait that they have with them for the rest of their lives. Here are a few teaching strategies to help your students learn to be more honest.

Teaching Strategies to Help Students Learn How to be Honest

Understanding Honesty

The first thing that you’ll want to do is help students understand what being honest is all about. Whether your students are 5 years old or 15, every student can benefit from understanding a little bit more about honesty. Begin with talking about why being an honest person is so important (it helps to build trust, helps you grow as a person, etc.). Set up a few scenarios that give students a better understanding about what an honest versus a dishonest person looks like. Then open up the platform for students to talk about what they think being an honest person looks like and doesn’t look like.

Role-Playing Honesty

To give students a better understanding of what being an honest person looks like, have them take turns role playing different scenarios. First (with the help of an assistant), role play the scenario that you drop a dollar bill on the floor and don’t know it, so you kept walking while your assistant picks up. Then (with the help of your assistant), you ask the assistant if they noticed that you dropped any money. When the assistant lies and says “No,” ask the students how they would feel if a friend lied to them. Next, have students come up and role play the correct way to be an honest person returning the dollar that was dropped.

Modeling Honesty

One of the best ways that you can teach honesty in the classroom is by modeling it yourself. Think about all of the times that your students may have witnessed you in what you thought was a little white lie. Teach students to be honest by always being honest yourself. Remember your students are always watching you, even when you don’t know it.

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Always Expect the Truth

Another way to teach students honesty is to always expect the truth. When students know that they don’t have a choice in the matter, and they are expected to tell the truth, then they will be more likely to be honest. Make sure that in the beginning in of the school year, you specifically say, “I always expect the truth from you and nothing less.” These words will resonate with the students for the rest of the school year.

Not Comparing Yourself to Others

One thing that many young children do is compare themselves to others, especially teenagers. They do this because they are not confident or comfortable in their own skin yet, and they think that lying or exaggerating about themselves will make them look better. Teach students to never compare themselves to others and to always strive to be themselves. When they are honest with themselves, then it’ll be easier to be honest with others.

Having students develop habits of honesty will help them be more honest people. Do not wait for a situation to occur in the classroom to remind your students to be honest. Talk to them daily or weekly about how important it is to always tell the truth. This is a character trait that they will carry with them forever.

Do you think it’s necessary to teach students about honesty? Please share your thoughts and teaching strategies on this topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at

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