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3 Steps To Building Character in Your Students

Two components of teaching that are getting a lot of attention recently are character education and values. Uncoincidentally, two of the most difficult to teach and, as a result, seldom seen qualities in students today.

This lack of character and values is already having an outside impact as young generations start entering the workplace. Employers are complaining new recruits are unreliable, emotionally and socially unintelligent, and lacking the essential soft skills necessary for working life.

No doubt growing up in the technological age with all the world’s pleasures and information just a click away is a part of the problem. This, of course, isn’t something that’s going to change anytime soon.

So if we want our students to succeed in life and grow up to be strong members of society, we need to employ a sustainable and organised effort to building character in the classroom. Starting today.

The problem is, it can be difficult for teachers to know where to begin. With much of character building coming down to your individual attitude and how lessons are delivered rather than the content itself.

To shed some light on successful character building and help prepare students for the real world, we’ve put together a few tried and tested techniques from classrooms around the world. Embed them in the way you teach and you’ll soon notice a big difference in your students, and maybe even yourself.

1. Find role models

Students are constantly searching for role models to look up to, even if they’re not aware of it. As well as behaving yourself as a positive role model, make a point of focusing on characters from history, science, sport, and the arts which they can emulate.

You can do this by intertwining topics with personal stories as well as deliberately teaching about the soft skills that made someone successful or influential in their field. This will help students see the link between positive character traits such as courage and diligence with positive outcomes.

2. Show some respect

As the basis of all other positive character traits, respect should play a prominent role in your classroom. This includes self-respect as well as respect for other students, staff, and people in society.

Beyond the basic ideas like not insulting others or talking about them behind their back, you can help your students see the importance of respect by setting common rules to follow when in class. These could include things that promote honesty, fairness, and good manners. For instance, thinking of others first when getting something for yourself, and admitting and apologising when you’ve done something wrong.

3. Get into volunteering

One of the greatest gifts in life is to be of service to others. It’s also essential to becoming a well- rounded person. But in the selfie culture of today, many students don’t recognise this and thus miss out on building valuable interpersonal and social skills.

Volunteering doesn’t have to mean setting up projects in your community; you can start volunteer programs in your school or even in the classroom. Students can design crafts to raise money for charity, read to younger children, help at a local food bank, or set up their own recycling project.
There is an infinite number of ways they can get involved in volunteering, and an infinite number of ways it will help build a strong character.

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