What's Happening in Character?

What is Character Education?

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 @ 12:12 PM

Fourth in a series by student teacher Rebecca Bauer who graduated from a National School of Character and wants to make sure that as a teacher she includes character education.

After completing my student teaching, I find myself asking the question that I probably should have started with. What is Character Education and what does it mean to have a Character Education program? Some of the confusion about character education seems to be due to the presence of many different names for the same practices. I have encountered many professors who have never heard of character education but strongly encourage teaching with “a culture of care,” without understanding the enormous overlap. I have met teachers who implement the Responsive Classroom approach, without knowing that in the process, they, too, are incorporating some of the elements of character education. Schools can always teach more character education and there is always more work to be done, but one way to convince people that character education is worth teaching, is by showing them they are already teaching it.

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Topics: character education, student teaching, Bauer Rebecca

Time for Character Education

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 @ 10:11 AM

Third in a series by student teacher Rebecca Bauer. She graduated from a National School of Character and wants to make sure that as a teacher she includes character education, but she is finding it challenging.

Even at an elementary school as great as the one that I was working at, I still felt the need to “sneak in” character education. The classroom environment encouraged respect and responsibility, but another part of the character education equation, critical thought and discussion, was missing.  Despite believing deeply in the importance of character education, I felt uncomfortable making time to devote entire lessons to it, especially in a classroom that I was only borrowing for a couple months. While I have read and will continue to read ways to incorporate character education into the common core standards requirements, as a student teacher trying to get by, my survival strategy turned into simply sprinkling in character education wherever I could.

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Topics: character education, character education in curriculum, teachable moments, student teaching, Bauer Rebecca

Rules and Incentives

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 @ 08:10 AM

Second in a series by Rebecca Bauer, a graduate of a School of Character, who is now chronicling her student teacher experience.

Like most classrooms, we spent a good deal of time the first week discussing rules. We brainstormed a list together. The lead teacher wrote up a consolidated version and then every student signed it. We asked each student to choose the rule they thought was most important and to write a sentence about why it was important. One student did not finish in time and took his work out with him to complete it during recess. The boy decided that the most important rule was to listen.

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Topics: character education, student teaching, intrinsic motivation, PBIS

Adventures in Student Teaching: My First Day at School (Take One & Two)

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 @ 08:10 AM

First in a series--how a new student teacher tries to implement character education based on her experience attending a National School of Character before entering college.

With nervous energy and excitement, I arrived at the elementary school where I planned to begin my student teaching. It was superintendent’s conference day, and I was taking the opportunity to get a lay of the land. I walked into the second grade classroom and I could not find it. The heart of an elementary school classroom, it was missing. There wasn’t a carpet or a rug, or even a patch of open floor where the students could congregate around an easel or board. There were only desks. They were laid out in a U shape, with two rows in the center. I couldn’t imagine an effective way to facilitate discussion in this set up. Perhaps I was overly critical, after my professor had assigned us to read McKenna’s “Uncovering the Lessons of Classroom Furniture,” but I couldn’t shake the feeling that building a sense of community in this business-like room would be quite difficult.

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Topics: character, character education, student voice, teachers, school climate, student teaching