Teaching Beyond Self

By | March 17, 2013


When it comes to teaching children behavioral and developmental skills in the classroom, both parents and teachers should assume the responsibility together. While parents need to take an active role in the matter, they should still get the input of teachers. Part of what this means – from the parents – is through action. When they behave in a way fitting to society, hopefully the child watching it will do likewise. In situations whereby the school is reporting that the child is not behaving appropriately, there needs to be 3-way discussions between the student, parent and teacher to see how this can be rectified.

According to Director of Character Education at Santa Clara University, Steve Johnson, historically schools have had the following three priorities vis-à-vis what they wish their students to leave with. These are: skills, knowledge and character. As educators, it is always a focus to help students build character.

This could come in a variety of forms. First, students can be taught to look out for their peers who seem to be struggling. Whether they are encountering social or academic challenges, for those who are not facing such difficulties, to notice this and offer help is a good idea. In addition, sometimes children can be asked by teachers to implement challenging physical tasks. So if a student sees another one struggling to clear away podiums or trying to set up a gymnasium for an event then they should automatically make themselves available to help.

It is also important to note that the way in which a student offers a peer help is indicative of his/her character. If they offer the help in a patronizing way, they may as well refrain from putting out the offer. But if they do it in a way to make the student feel like they are both participating in something as a joint project, then this is a great way of developing positive character traits.