In a busy academic calendar, finding time to build character among students is a challenge for teachers. At the same time, the school is the primary social structure a student encounters, and it offers an outstanding opportunity for character-building.
A school is not just for gaining knowledge; it is an institution that lays a foundation to shape students' personalities. Every school must create an appropriate environment and set a tone of value, integrity, and genuine kindness for all students. Teachers are role models, and by demonstrating good character in the classroom every day, they would positively influence their students.
Students observe how teachers handle pressure without losing their composure. Character building can also be initiated proactively through effective planning and relevant assignments within the classroom. The classroom activities must motivate students to adhere to ethical principles that can extend beyond the classroom.
Foundation of character
The character of a person can be identified by what an individual would be doing when no one is looking. Real character is incorporated at a deep level so that positive behavior is displayed even in stressful conditions. A foundation of character would be courage, integrity, diligence, respect, concern, trustworthiness, etc. Teachers must motivate students to build each one of these foundations through interactive assignments.
Rules within the classroom set the tone
A teacher is responsible for establishing rules for appropriate classroom behavior; during the commencement of the academic year, teachers must specify the ground rules, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Students can also suggest appropriate rules that could be of benefit in a classroom. Teachers must praise students for demonstrating ethical behavior. A reward system for an outstanding character would be beneficial in the long-run.
Support good role models
Students select role models to succeed professionally. Teachers must point out positive character role models from various fields – science, literature, sports, politics. Any discussion on improving life because of good character would be beneficial.
Be firm on respect
A classroom environment must be established on the foundation of respect. Respect for diverse cultures and differing views should be the basis of all positive character traits. Any negativity and abuse must be condemned. Teachers must create anti-bullying policies.
Teachers must highlight the significance of volunteerism. Initiate volunteer programs across the school. Students must mentor other students, provide support in the lab, and assist underperforming students.
Character in action
Students must be challenged to develop projects that can benefit the entire school or community throughout the academic year. The school management must strive for a robust community spirit. Support from parents and the community would also help.