FLORENCE – Thanks to the Pee Dee Education Foundation, Bruce Mallick is teaching manners to his students at Briggs Elementary, where he is a student-teacher. And for their final, when they complete their studies, Mallick will take the students to a meal in a local restaurant to test their mannerly skills.
Mallick, pursuing a master’s degree in education from Francis Marion University, was required as part of a class assignment to write a grant request. His request was for funding of the manners course. The Pee Dee Education Foundation accepted his mini-grant proposal, and funded the program.
Mallick, who holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from St. Leo University, and who is retired from the U.S. Army, was able to purchase a five-piece setting of silverware and an eight-piece china place setting, all the niceties of place settings.
Through his “Manners a Step in the Right Direction,” Mallick has taught his “children to eat their French fries with their forks in the cafeteria. My children ask to be excused in order to take their trays up when they are finished eating,” he says.
He has also explained finger foods and fork foods, how to eat with one hand, keeping the other on the napkin in your lap, and how and when to properly use all the utensils at a place setting. He has also taught them how to budget when buying foods, and what are nutritious foods. Also, how to sit ladies first, hold the door for ladies and how to serve as hosts and hostesses, properly seating guests at a table.
Mallick, enrolled in FMU professor of education Mike Madden’s class, was one of nine Florence School District One teachers who received the $500 grant. His was the only student-teacher grant proposal accepted.
Madden, who also serves as Mallick's supervisor for student teaching, said he has seen how he has woven manners into everyday instruction, and even part of his homework.
“His kids, for example, have to help the moms set the table at home, and then report back on how well they did. The students with whom he works learn productive ways to handle common situations, skills that will be essential for them to be successful,” Madden said.
The writing of the grant proposal was included in the graduate course “Management of Classroom Conflict.” Often what appear to be "discipline" problems are actually problems with instruction, Madden said. Also, funding innovative ideas to approach conflict resolution frequently comes from teachers’ purses. Having the FMU students write grant requests represents one way for them to build support in the community for worthwhile projects.
In a previous class, one of Madden’s students used the grant writing assignment to develop a proposal for a mobile computer lab to be shared among several middle school teachers. That initiative was ultimately funded by the state Department of Education. Others have submitted their ideas to competitions sponsored by BellSouth.