Teaching Character

September 26, 2014

Do you remember the life lessons your favorite teachers taught you?

Around the office, we have fond recollections of such teachersthe ones who taught us to keep our temper, to bounce back after failure, to work hard. These teachers knew what they were doing: by developing character strengths, they were setting us up for success. There’s plenty of research to back this up: if students exhibit certain character strengths (like grit or resilience) when they are young, it’s a good predictor of success later in life.

"2012-240 #6WordMission" is licensed by Denise Krebs under CC by 2.0
“2012-240 #6WordMission” is licensed by Denise Krebs under CC by 2.0

Guided by our expert teachers, the Educational Media Writing team is integrating character lessons into our curriculum for 6th and 7th graders. This usually takes the form of “micro-moments”: small, teachable moments that are scripted into the system. These are the sorts of messages we include in our lessons:

  • Your success depends on your effort and diligence.
  • Practice may be hard or unpleasant, but you need it to succeed.
  • It takes conscious effort to build new habits.
  • Mastering a new skill is a great feeling.

Here is an example from one of our 7th grade lessons, where students learn from a virtual classroom with a tutor and students:

Isabel (a student): All of this stuff with lines seems really confusing. It’s so…different from what we usually do.

Martin (the tutor): Never fear – this only seems confusing now because it’s new material. But if we keep on working hard and don’t give up, it’ll start to make more sense. How about we do a few more practice exercises together. Okay?

Isabel: Okay, that sounds good.

Teachers, what are your strategies for teaching character in students? Let us know by writing on our Facebook wall, tweeting at us, commenting on our Google+ posts and writing on our Pinterest boards.

Post by Georgina Petronella, Sr. Educational Media Writer



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