An Integrated Approach to Character Education
· Not considered an “add-on,” but part of the academic learning of each student;
· The “Six Pillars of Character” are incorporated into teaching objectives;
· Classroom teachers use activities with social themes, e.g., math graphs using data on recycling while discussing individual responsibility;
· Instructional materials are reviewed for themes that relate to personal development;
· Teaching methods and activities are selected that will involve students in the process of reflection about moral/ethical issues;
· Student learning will be evaluated for evidence of understanding and personal growth in matters of character.
The school and community are vital partners in the character education of youth
· Schools and communities must cooperate in developing expectations for children and youth;
· The parent organization is actively involved through workshops and student assemblies;
· Parents are educated regarding the “Six Pillars of Character”;
· Organizations that use the school facility after hours are encouraged to support the character program of the school by using the common language of the pillars.
Creating a positive classroom environment supports a character education initiative
· Having a positive classroom environment is considered an instructional priority;
· Students are assigned small-group work to promote collaboration and team building;
· Interactions with students in ways demonstrate respect for student input;
· Peer teaching activities are used;
· A bully free learning environment is established that allow for the class to be a safe and caring place for all students.
Empowered teachers are in the best position to carry out the goals of a character education initiative. To become empowered, teachers should:
· Become involve in curriculum projects; identify character themes;
· Take leadership roles in school;
· Read professional journals and articles about character development;
· Communicate often with parents to let them know what is going on in the classroom;
· Participate in training opportunities related to character education;
· Share ideas about how character education is being implemented in their classrooms.
Character education is encouraged through administrative policy and practice
· Character education is incorporated into school improvement plan;
· Desirable behavior is modeled by all staff;
· A total school climate that supports the goals of character education is created and sustained.
Character education is action education
· Students are sensitized to issues through role playing and drama;
· Students take opposite point of view in discussions;
· Action-oriented projects are implemented that relate to curriculum themes;
· Students are actively involved in planning and organizing projects;
· Parents and community members are utilized to assist in the character education initiative, thereby showing students how adults volunteer for altruistic purposes;
· Examples of class and individual cooperation in serving the community are highlighted;
· Student service projects are visible in the school and community.