About 18 months ago I was approached by a colleague I trusted with everything T&L related; he had an interesting invite to extend my way. We spoke in detail about a new timetabled class for year 7, one centred less around academic success, but interpersonal character skills which would allow students to succeed in the future. Embedding happiness into their school life through the acquisition of traits.
From minute one, I was hooked; and agreed to be a part of this exciting new venture.
This is a re-blog post originally posted by Liam Belk and published with kind permission.
The original post can be found here.
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Character Education is a model which focuses around “key” character traits which all students are taught about. These include:
Throughout the course of one academic year, students would take part in lessons which would teach them how to show optimism or resilience (or both) in a certain situation. We investigated the importance of social intelligence in a manner of different situations, identifying bullying as a weakness of character, and leadership and morality as strength, not the other way around.
We taught students about “why good people do bad things” investigating a simplified version of Christopher Brownings Police Battalion 101 and looked into the role of peer pressure and coercion.
Students gained an insight into the importance of Optimism, we taught them about the challenges life has to offer, and how best to view them in a perspective where by they could succeed.
In terms of measuring the success of this newly founded unit, we were unsure how to. But it became apparent merely by watching these year 7’s that they were beginning to identify with the traits, and embed them into their student culture. Murmurs of “come on, be resilient” or “how can we show more zest here?” were a common occurrence in the classroom.
By the end of the academic year, and the evening of year 7 parents evening, parents commented on how they felt their child had become more rounded since the beginning of this course; they commented on how their child was viewing the world differently, and how they felt their child was now set up for the challenges of year 8 and the rest of their life at school.
The students really thrived under this non-academic setting, and viewed it as a time to really understand themselves. Perhaps, for the first time in their lives.
I couldn’t be prouder of each of them.
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