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Posts: 57
Reply with quote  #16 
I have always liked the golden rule - treat others the way you want to be treated The characteristics I agree with are citizenship, fairness, integrity, kindness, gratitude, social intelligence. 

That is what I try to teach in my class by talking, social study lessons, role playing, and motoring and correcting behavior as I see it. Also give lots of encouragement to my students and don't let them get frustrated. 

Posts: 148
Reply with quote  #17 

To me to say that someone has character means a lot.  I was taught of course from church to treat people the way you would want to be treated.  My parents being the same religion also enforced this.  To treat someone the way I wanted to be treated was not exactly true though I realized as I got older.  Not everyone wanted to be treated the way I wanted to be treated.  I would rather you be 110% honest with me without fearing how I was going to feel.  Many of my friends want me to sugar coat or not say anything at all because the truth might hurt their feelings.  My parents did teach me to be honest and true to everybody.  Do not partake in actions that might make you seem untrustworthy, conniving, manipulative, or deceitful.  Their rule was always act in a way that you know you are being watched.  With that being said, my definition of character is upholding the truth in tough times,  courage to make decisions based on fairness, family values, kindness to others. 

I try teaching what I believe is character by modeling and by role playing activities.  I also use times of disagreement as examples of how to express good character traits. 


Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #18 
A few questions for you...

-What is your definition of "character?"  Someone here mentioned integrity.  That is what resonates with me.  Unfortunately, a lot of my students do not have good integrity and don't feel any guilt about cheating in class.  A person with a strong character is more than likely going to have a successful and happy life. 

-Do you agree with any of the characteristics listed on page 59? If yes, which ones?   I think the list covers those qualities about a persons life that will allow obstacles to be tackled and overcome.  I do believe that character can be taught and modeled for our students.  Unfortunately, a lot of the celebrities they follow on social media, have low moral fiber and are not good role models.

-How do you teach the characteristics you agree with in your classroom?  I try to model the characteristics in my behavior and expect the students to do the same.  I have a low tolerance for dishonesty (cheating) and am constantly trying to encourage honesty in testing.  I expect students to be kind to each other.  I participated in the Safe School Ambassador program at our school which encourages students to be advocates for each other and stop bullying behaviors.

Posts: 89
Reply with quote  #19 

My definition of character is living by a moral code and exhibiting certain traits that aid your fellow man and the earth.  I agree with ALL the traits listed on page 59, but there are so many ways to define character.  I also liked how Seligman and Peterson defined character as a set of abilities or strengths that you can learn, practice and teach.  Isn’t that one of the most rewarding things about being a teacher? I don’t necessarily remember that a particular student did well on a certain test, but I remember how they learned respect, kindness and responsibility in my classroom, along with numerous science and laboratory skills of course! I taught these characteristics by starting the year off with a Classroom Management Plan that discussed the 3 rules of my classroom and then my procedures.  Students had no surprises as to what my expectations were and no surprise consequences.  Each student was treated equally/fairly, even if his or her parent was the principal, a colleague or a school board member.  Kindness and respect were emphasized by raising your hand if you wanted to share or answer a question, taking turns and allowing others to participate in activities, and giving each person their own “space”. Feeling safe in my classroom was of utmost importance, not only physical safety, but also feeling free to discuss your opinion regarding a social issue without being ridiculed.  Appreciation and love for the earth and our natural resources was emphasized, as was the wisdom, bravery and integrity of numerous scientists.  One of the characteristics/skills I emphasized the most was having a good work ethic.  We all worked bell to bell, and quality work was expected.


Posts: 98
Reply with quote  #20 
To me, character is doing what is right because it's right. It may not be the easiest thing to do or the most popular thing, but it's the right thing. I agree with the others who say that good character is treating others the way you want to be treated.
I agree that all the traits mentioned are important to success in life. As far as how I help teach character to my students, I try to model talking respectfully to others, treating others as you would like to be treated, just leading by example mainly.

Posts: 65
Reply with quote  #21 
I believe that character is a "core set of attributes that define one's essence", as it mentions on p. 59 in the book. However, I also believe that this set of attributes can also be malleable. I think character goes hand-in-hand with personality, as just as there are positive/negative personality traits, I believe there can be positive/negative character traits that define a person. I believe that all of the character traits mentioned on p. 59 are accurate and can be used to define someone's character. When I think of someone having a "strong character," I think of them exuding positive character traits consistently.

At the public school I taught at, we adopted a discipline plan called "Honorable Character." Within this discipline plan, students were praised for positive character traits they exemplified within the classroom. Per the website that promotes and sells the Honorable Character items, "Honorable Character is Non-profit 501C3 founded to support the building of a strong foundation of character that will last a lifetime. The process emphasizes positive reinforcement through recognizing the desirable choices that the student is already making, thereby fostering the development of habits which form strong character." The program was amazing! We did away with all extrinsic rewards for the students, and instead "rewarded" them by calling them out on what a fabulous job they were doing in showing positive character traits. The students recorded in their take home folders and on a poster in the classroom, the traits that the teacher noticed them doing a great job in. There were 14 traits we focused in on: Respect, obedience, diligence, wisdom, kindness, self-control, orderliness, service, attentiveness, cooperation, courage, honesty, forgiveness, and responsibility. It was amazing to hear the students take pride in showing strong character traits. For instance, I would hear them say things like, "Wow, I have done a much better job with responsibility this week" or "Way to go, you had a lot of self-control this week" or "Umm...I didn't have nearly as much organization as I did last week." The students became self-aware of their character traits.


Posts: 61
Reply with quote  #22 
I find it difficult to identify a specific list of character traits.   I agree with others on this forum, that we need to have high expectations that students will do the "right" thing. "Conscientious people . . .made it their default response to do the 'good' thing" (p.94)  For me, personally, I have always emphasized integrity.  When I worked in the business world, our motto was HIA - honesty, integrity, and ability.  That's what we looked for in new employees.

We are preparing our students for gainful employment, and the labor market values "internal motivation" (p.69)  "They want to hire the most productive, reliable, and diligent workers then can find." (p.71) So our focus should be on what Levin describes as "attitude adjustment and behavior modification." (p.49) Businesses aren't going to put up with the drama and emotional outbursts that many students display.

We should always model and mentor in the classroom, and encourage the same in the home, when possible. I make it a point to stay calm and never raise my voice in response to student outbursts.  I always model professional behavior for my students.  As Tough writes, "It's okay to be street on the street . . . but if you're in a museum or a college interview or a nice restaurant, you need to know exactly how to act or you're going to miss out on important opportunities."(p.89)

Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #23 

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Character is how you act when no one is around, being responsible for your actions, being proactive instead of reactive and above all else showing great moral being.

It is my opinion that good values and good citizenship is taught in schools. As educators we all have a common goal and that is to create, problem solving, self-sufficient, productive members of society. If there is a student that lies, and cheats in your classroom are you to not try to encourage that student to stop and do the right things or simply let it slide. What benefit would this have on this child in the real world? Would this not lead to more self-destruction?

Teaching students right from wrong and modeling it for them in the classroom is great because this is probably the only chance the child sees someone in his/her life doing the right thing. Educators are often the only mentor some children have in their lives.  


Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #24 

I often tell my students that character is doing the right things even when nobody is watching.  I think character is defined by the values we cherish and by how we treat others.  I focus on character often and celebrate displays of character.  From the list in the book, I would select integrity, kindness and gratitude as key.  I focus on these three character traits frequently with my Kindergarten students.  I teach them by talking about them often with the class.  I teach character through books and class discussion.  I recognize and reward students that are demonstrating these character traits.  My school counselor also talks about these and other characters traits each month.  The school selects one character trait and we make it the value of the month. 


Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #25 
1.  What is your definition of character?

My definition of character is kindness, honesty, integrity and gratitude.  The Golden Rule encompasses this definition.  "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you." Matthew 7:12

2.  Do you agree with any of the characteristics listed on page 59? If yes, which ones?

I do agree with the list on page 59.  In the classroom, I would especially encourage integrity, citizenship, fairness, humor, kindness and gratitude.  I love how Seligman and Peterson define character - "a set of abilities or strengths that are very much changeable - entirely malleable, in fact"  It's good to know we can change (or work on) our weaker character traits! 

3.  How do you teach the characteristics you agree with in your classroom?

In Pre-K, I worked a lot on sharing (kindness and fairness), gratitude, sportsmanship and honesty.  I found the best way to teach these traits was through modeling, teachable moments and group discussions. 

Chellie Nelson

Posts: 38
Reply with quote  #26 
Character is self-respect.

I agree that character consists of virtues.

In the classroom character can be taught using cause and effect.

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