For Character

How To Teach the Six Pillars



  1. Explicit Instruction – Define the term, talk about what it will look like when it is demonstrated and practiced.  Ask: “What behaviors do people display when they are demonstrating this pillar?”  “What kinds of things do you hear people say when they are practicing this pillar?”  “What do people feel when they practice or demonstrate this pillar?”


  1. Target Talk – Give specific feedback to a child by referring to what was done to demonstrate a pillar.  “Matt, you demonstrated bring a caring person when you helped Mike up after his fall.”  “Class, you are so responsible.  You got ready for lunch quickly and quietly.”


  1. Create a Six Pillar Display – This could be a year-long bulletin board.  The bulletin board could highlight all six of the pillars as they are presented.  The board could be used as an instructional tool, a management strategy, and a focal point in the room.


  1. Across the Curriculum Instruction – Find ways to integrate the instruction of the six pillars into all discipline areas.  Ask: “What pillar was the character in the story demonstrating?”  “What pillar does a citizen who casts his vote in the city election demonstrate?”


  1. Discipline – When dealing with a student or students that need to change their behavior, use the CHARACTER COUNTS! language.  Say: “What would be the responsible way to deal with that conflict, Joey?”  “Describe how that might have looked had you been demonstrating the pillar of trustworthiness.”  Keep the poster of the six pillars behind your desk on the wall.  Refer to it during your discussion with the student.


  1. Parent Involvement – When visiting with parents, use the CHARACTER COUNTS! language in the conversation.  Say: “Joey shows respect for his peers.  He always says please and thank you when they share birthday treats with him.”  “I am working on Mary’s sense of responsibility towards her homework.”