Working on Behavior with Character Education

A growing problem in schools across the country is misbehavior within classrooms. This used to be predominately a concern at the middle school and high school level. Now, elementary schools are searching for ways to work on problem behaviors. It is no longer acceptable to write up a student and give them detention. All of a child’s needs must be addressed, and it’s crucial to look at what may be causing the behaviors. This means being proactive. Schools need to implement programs which will assist students in identifying what is bothering them before they act out.

Why Character Education?

Character Education helps to address tough topics in schools. At the same time, the process works to develop a positive school climate. Research has shown that when this is implemented, schools have changed their culture, decreased referrals, and increased academic achievement for all students. In addition to this, job satisfaction and retention of those working in the building increase.

Character education is meant to compliment a wide variety of educational philosophies. It will blend with civic education, whole child education, service learning, and social-emotional learning. The reason is that the focus of character education is assisting students to become responsible, caring, and participating members of a community. In addition to this, schools need support from outside of the classroom. In order to work properly, character education has to involve all school staff, students, parents, and community members who are involved in school day after day.

Dedicated School Counselor

Schools must form a committee to see which type of character education program would fit your school community the best. It is important to look at your long-term goals and put them into action. Another item to consider is whether you will be hiring someone from a program to come in and train individual teachers. Some schools have found that the best process is to hire a dedicated school counselor to run the character education program.

A dedicated school counselor could teach all of the classes specific character education information at a set time. One month they may focus on self-awareness and then move onto topics like self-management, responsible decision making, and healthy relationships. Teachers in the classroom and others will participate with their classes in a team building manner. The counselor would also be available to meet with individual students who seek out extra time or are recommended by others.

What type of character education programs have you implemented in your school? Please share how school counselors and others are actively involved in your process. Let us know what has worked and what you may still be tweaking by commenting below.


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