I’ve always been a huge proponent of explicitly teaching character strengths but that takes dedicated and specific time. In the absence of a specific program for teaching character there are still many ways to ‘teach’ our students how to develop their character strengths. One of the best ways is by modeling, by living the message. Currently I am taking a GREAT online course called “Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms” via Relay/GSE and Coursera.com. It is only a four week class and I’m half way through, it doesn’t take too much time…if you’re interested in giving it a shot follow this link to sign up.
One of the very first lessons requires you to take two sorts of self-assessment. The first part tasks you with considering 24 character strengths and ranking them in order of importance for student success. Follow this link to the document from the Relay/GSE that is used for doing this so you can give it a try. The second part is an online self-assessment that asks you 120 questions (it takes about 10 minutes) and then gives you feedback about the order in which you actually live out the 24 character strengths. This VIA Survey requires you to sign up but it is free and they don’t send you annoying emails (interestingly enough I signed up 9 years ago and took this test and received nothing from them, it was also really cool to see how I’ve changed over time!)
So, give it a shot. Go through both parts of this (it will take about 20 minutes) and see what your results look like. Are you actually practicing what you preach or are there areas where you talk-the-talk more than walk-the-walk? I’m happy to share my results (from now and 9 years ago!) if you’re keen to see. Let me know once you’ve completed this, I’d love to hear your two cents!!
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin