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Good Manners chart

The 'Good Manners' chart was first issued to Queensland schools in 1898 by the Department of Public Instruction as part of the systematic teaching of conduct and manners. The chart was based on rules formulated by the Children's National Guild of Courtesy which had been founded in UK elementary schools in 1889.

A chart containing a list of rules for good manners.

Photograph: The Good Manners chart.

The rules covered personal conduct at home, at school, at play, in the street, at the table and general courtesy. School rules emphasised that children should respect teachers, other students and school property. Cheating, dishonesty and cowardice were discouraged at school and play.

The chart (80cm wide x 110cm long) hung in a prominent place in the classroom or would be unrolled and hung on a map-stand. As part of lessons on 'Conduct and Manners', the teacher would run through the chart, while the children repeated each rule several times. The students were required to then put into practice, in the classroom and the playground, the instruction received.

One school inspector reported in 1899 improved discipline and 'polite behaviour of the pupils to their seniors outside the precincts of the school' and that 'the lessons on conduct and manners and those from the good manners chart, lately supplied to schools are apparently doing good'. Another district inspector was more scathing noting that the result of sending the chart to schools 'with the view to the inculcation of polite habits among the pupils' was 'but slightly appreciable'.

The chart continued to be issued to Queensland schools until the 1960s.

Download a copy of the Good Manners chart (PDF, 840 KB)

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Last reviewed
21 February 2013
Last updated
21 February 2013