“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.
Never has character education been so relevant as it is now. Emotional Resilience can provide children with the strength to navigate through the adversity caused by Covid-19, compassion can create a culture of understanding and empathy for how others have been affected. Now is a good time to discover the benchmarks of the Character Education.
School is an important social structure for a child to develop a strong moral character. A school should set a tone of respect, honesty and genuine kindness for all students. Teachers are role models for students,who notice what teachers, do, say, and how they handle challenges.
What is Character Education and its importance in student’s life?
The most basic definition of character education is an approach to education that incorporates values, ethics, emotional maturity and a sense of civics. Character is the sum of the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. However, when we talk about character, we refer to certain desirable moral qualities and virtues such as truthfulness, honesty, responsibility, compassion etc.
In fact, character building has been deeply rooted in Indian education since the time of Gurukul education. It is the foundation of Indian philosophy and culture to spend the first quarter of one’s life as a student yearning for education and knowledge. The Gurukuls were meant as a place where one not only learnt academics but also important aspects of life such as community living and caring for others.
Positive behaviours for Character Building
Caring – kind, compassionate behaviour, expressing gratitude, forgiving others, and helping people in need.
Citizenship — helping the school and community, staying informed, obeying rules and laws, respecting authority, and protecting the environment.
Fairness – playing by the rules, being open-minded, not taking advantage of others.
Respect – being tolerant of differences, using good manners and appropriate language and dealing peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements.
Responsibility – doing what one is supposed to do, persevering, and being accountable for one’s choices.
Trustworthiness – being honest especially when entrusted with a task or a responsibility. It is the quality on which all relationships are built.
Components of Character Education
There’s no precise formula for a curriculum that incorporates character education. There are different theories on how to instil positive values and character traits. This also differs according to culture and the age of the students. Educators can adopt a conscious proactive and comprehensive approach to character development. To support this process, schools can create caring and supportive communities. Educators and all school staff are part of an ethical learning community and adhere to the same values that they teach.
Online Character-Building Activities for Students
Character building is not restricted to physical classrooms and can be done on line through a series of interactive activities. These classroom activities will encourage students to develop and adopt quality ethical principles and behaviours that can last far beyond the classroom.
Bucket-filler [showing kindness] Friday – Take time once a week to have students encourage each other. This could be via written notes or circle time to give each other compliments.
Recipe for Success – Students post “ingredients” for the recipe of what good character looks like. You could do a group brainstorming session or have children write and draw their recipes. If space allows, make a bulletin board with the ideas.
Make It Mine – Let kids define character traits in their own words and share an example of someone they know who displays that positive characteristic.
Puppet Role Play – Use puppets to have students act out a conflict and resolution. This can also give insight into the interpersonal issues your students are facing.
Don’t Be Salty – Give students a little bit of salt and have them put it on a napkin. Tell them to put the crystals back into the pack.
This is the same as our words — they are difficult to take back.Helpful vs. Hurtful – Have students look at magazines or at social media posts and talk about which words can inspire and which words can be hurtful.
Big Kid Show and Tell – Have students bring in items that convey their individuality or unique experiences and talk about empathy and diversity.
Text to Talk – It’s a reality that teenagers spend a lot of time on their phones, challenge students to turn short texts into longer real-world conversations to explain their opinions about different character issues.
Character building is the essence of education. It involves a comprehensive approach that includes a robust curriculum, dedicated staff, and partnership with parents. It’s an approach to education, with the potential to yield outstanding results develop students into ethical, responsible citizens.
Ms. Rachana Madiwale
Dhaniraj Group of Schools