By Teachers, For Teachers
Students learn “character traits” from everyone that they come into contact with. Character education includes a broad range of traits educators want students to learn. In order to be effective in schools it must involve everyone and be a part of school every day. Research shows that schools that infuse character education will have more parental involvement, less behavior issues, and improved academic performance. If your school is looking to implement a character education program into their curriculum, the following programs are worth considering.
The Character Education Partnership (CEP), a nonprofit coalition committee committed to modeling positive character traits in schools, developed the Second Step Program. It’s based on 11 principles of character. These principles, which are touched upon below, serve as the foundation that schools use to plan an effective character education program.
Visit Character.org for a more detailed version of each principle.
Character Counts –The Six Pillars of Character
The Character Counts approach to character education is based on six ethical values which are not culturally, politically or ethically biased. These six pillars of character are the foundation of the Character Counts program. Each word is a particular color to help students remember the Pillars.
Think “true blue.” Be honest, reliable, considerate of others, loyal, don’t deceive, cheat or steal, and build a good reputation.
Think the Golden Rule. Follow the Golden Rule and treat others with respect. Use good manners, be tolerant and accepts of others differences, don’t threaten or hurt anyone, and deal peacefully with anger.
Think being responsible for a garden or money. Always do your best, keep trying, use self-control, be self-disciplined, be accountable for your actions, think before you act, and set a good example for others.
Think of dividing an orange to share equally with others. Play by the rules, take turns, treat all people fairly, listen to others, be open-minded, and don’t take advantage of others.
Think of a heart. Be kind and compassionate, express gratitude, think of others, forgive, and think of those in need.
Think of purple as representing the state. Do what it takes to make your school and community better, stay informed, get involved, cooperate, vote, be a good neighbor, obey the laws, respect authority, volunteer, and protect the environment.
Visit Charactercounts.org for more detailed information about the program.
Implementing a character education program is an important part of the school curriculum. Despite the idea that you may think it is the parent’s job to teach such character traits at home, what about the childrens’ parents that do not exemplify these traits, or the parents who don’t know how to teach them? How would these students learn these important traits? Regardless of how you may feel, character education is easy and can literally take minutes to instill lifelong traits than can help a child succeed in life. Our students are the ones who will shape what our world will be like in the future. Isn’t that in itself worth a few minutes of your teaching time?
Which character education program do you have in your school? Please leave your comment in the section below.
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 a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.