Character Education Programs

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					Character Education
     Programs


These programs work—especially when
they are skills-based!
Vision: The most important issue surrounding the success of a character
education program is the vision and commitment that schools are willing
to make in providing time, resources, teacher training, and celebration of
success. The school’s vision statement should reflect the importance of
developing students with positive character traits that produce citizens
that model and practice responsible behaviors.
Purpose of Character Ed. Programs

 Students and staff members must understand the goals and purposes of a
 substantial character education program.
    1. Why are we doing this?
    2. Who is responsible for making it work?
    3. What are my expectations and responsibilities? (students and staff)
    4. How will the success of this program be measured?
Commitment is Essential!

The leadership of the school is critical in making any program successful.
Principals must be willing to devote time to teacher training, provide
material and visual resources, have committees of teachers and students
to identify goals and programs, develop means of recognizing students
and teachers when traits are exhibited, and must personally be involved in
the program.
Culture: What is the Culture of the
School?
   When a student enters your school what kinds of expectations, traditions,
   and customs define the culture? What do you, your teachers, and your
   students want their school to be? What issues regarding behaviors that
   reflects negatively on the school can be changed with a character
   education program?


   The culture of any school can be changed. It takes strong leadership, with
   a vision, teacher commitment and involvement, time to implement, time to
   reward, and persistence in pursuing the vision.
Modeling—Students are Observers of
Behaviors!
  Students are observers of behaviors. While there is flexibility in their view
  of their peers there is little to no flexibility when viewing the adult
  community. Character traits must be modeled, talked about, illustrated,
  acknowledged, and evidenced. To have a quality character education
  program ALL adults in the building must be aware of their own behaviors
  and model the skills and attitudes that change the school culture and
  change student behaviors.
Emotional Learning—a Cognitive
Experience Helping the Brain to Learn

 Character education programs involve much more that language and
 rewards. Effective programs develop lessons that illustrate the
 importance of decision making based on real life experiences. Effective
 programs teach students behavioral models, allow time for discussion,
 and make character education a part of the schools curriculum.
Effective Practices to Build your Safe and
Academically Successful Culture!


Visuals: Character education traits need to posted and visible in all areas
of the school: classrooms, offices, cafeteria, gym, where ever students
gather the traits should be evidenced. This serves as a constant reminder
of the culture of the school and constantly places the language in front of
students and staff.
Orientation: Character education programs should be
talked about at school assemblies, orientation
programs, and parent meetings.


 In order to develop the culture of character it must be
in the fore-front of all activities. There must be constant
reinforcement of expectations and practices.
Committees: Leadership is essential in moving and organization, but
equally important is the ownership of the participants.


Faculty committees should be established that focus on the how, when,
and where the program will be initiated, how it will recognize and reward
behaviors, what traits will be targeted for specific months, and help
develop the mission on the program. Student participation is also
essential in listening to and directing program emphasis.
Staff development activities: Teachers must be in-serviced on the
activities and events that they will be expected to teach. Effective
character education programs spend time training teachers on their role in
presenting and teaching materials. When teachers feel comfortable and have
a knowledge base regarding program design and direction the program will
change student behaviors and school climate at an accelerated rate.
Teachers have so many expectations placed on them that asking them to be
responsible for one more program will often meet with resistance. Train all
staff to understand the importance of developing a culture of caring and the
results will be amazing in developing positive school atmosphere, student
achievement, and work place environment.
Staff development activities: Teachers must be in-serviced on the
activities and events that they will be expected to teach. Effective
character education programs spend time training teachers on their role in
presenting and teaching materials. When teachers feel comfortable and have
a knowledge base regarding program design and direction the program will
change student behaviors and school climate at an accelerated rate.
Teachers have so many expectations placed on them that asking them to be
responsible for one more program will often meet with resistance. Train all
staff to understand the importance of developing a culture of caring and the
results will be amazing in developing positive school atmosphere, student
achievement, and work place environment.
Time, to think, to analyze, to recognize, and reward: Learning takes place over
time with practice, reinforcements, discussions, and applications.


 Teaching and learning are shared experiences that take time. When teaching
and discussing behaviors that ask questions regarding character traits it takes
time to process the information, listen, and make decisions regarding the right
thing to do. One of the biggest problems facing schools is providing time for
these discussions to occur that result in empowering individuals to make
decision making based on the right thing to do and how to behave.
                           WHERE TO START

*Visuals---character education signs posted in classrooms and around the
school.

* Form a Character Education Committee to identify specific activities to
be done each semester.

*Inspirational sayings----posted around the school and “thoughts for the
day” on daily announcements.

 *Identify specific character traits to be emphasized for each month of
the school year. (Example: –teaching Goal setting and Respect during
September---Caring during December)

  * Select weekly “Students of Character” and give awards, gift
certificates, etc.

*Writing across the curriculum. As an exercise in developing writing skill
associated with character education qualities schedule designated periods
of time when the entire school stops and writes about a quality or
behavior that has been inspirational or positively influenced their
behavior.
*Text based seminars. Schedule designated periods of time when the
entire school engages in discussion regarding a reading that deals will
resolve and character issues. (Text based seminars need staff
development but are powerful in building relationships)

*Monthly or end of the semester rewards for students who have
demonstrated qualities and behaviors that demonstrate the growth and
application of traits emphasized for that time period.

*Recognition of staff members or members of the educational community
that demonstrate positive character traits.

*End of the year celebrations for parents and students who have been
recognized throughout the year for their contributions to developing and
enhancing school culture.
  * Classroom guidance activities where students learn the lessons
involved in the PEACE Curriculum; these can be done in advisement or
certain classes. All classrooms emphasize certain standards, i.e,
listening behaviors, goal setting, continuous improvement, etc.

* Everybody in the building needs to use the language each day and in
every way possible so that the language becomes embedded in the daily
language and behaviors in the building.

* Each month address the character education program at faculty
meetings. Schools have so many agendas that unless programs are
emphasized other distractions will erode the importance of building the
culture.

* Intensive A.R.T./Peace Curriculum in speciality classes—special ed. In-
school suspension, alternative classroom and after school programs.

 * Peer Mentoring Programs or Student Council Programs that emphasize
social skills and character.
*Students sign a “Respect Agreement”

* A “G” rated language atmosphere is required and rewarded!

*Public acknowledgments of individuals or groups though local media,
board of education meetings, and PTA events.

*Provide research that documents the changes in school cultures that
have devoted time and energy to developing character education
programs.
The most important aspect of
all!

    All staff need to work toward being the
    best role models they can be!

				
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