Looking back and reflecting on my own classroom experiences over the years, I have had the chance to recognize how many times my teachers would integrate good character qualities and model moral development throughout the day. While I never took a particular class about having good character, my teachers were effective in incorporating it into almost every lesson.
In fact, building character in the classroom is one of the most important jobs of a teacher. Students spend more time in school and the classroom than they typically spend at home, so there is significant value in taking the responsibility on as teachers to guide them in making correct choices.
Building character in the classroom begins with effective classroom management skills. When students understand the expectations of the teacher and are given the means necessary to carry out those expectations, students and teachers can thrive. Classroom management skills must be introduced at the beginning of the year and practiced throughout the school year in order to solidify them in the minds of the children. Skills such as turn-taking, how to speak with their peers, time management, treating others fairly and other quality character traits should be taught and modeled throughout the classroom lessons. Students should have the opportunity to observe the teacher exhibit these life skills and then have the chance to work on them on their own with themselves and their peers.
By establishing healthy rules and expectations for all students to follow, building character in the classroom comes easier than we might think. When students feel that their voice is being heard and that their feelings matter, they are more willing to follow in the path that is set before them. When all students come together, work on following the rules and build strong character traits as a team, they can keep each other accountable for their actions. At this point, the teacher can stand back and observe as students are modeling good behavior and choices to their peers without even thinking about it!
As teachers, it is our responsibility to instill a sense of moral and upright character in our students on top of teaching them academic lessons. Because the children are the future, it is a responsibility we must not take lightly. Teachers must strive every day to model excellent behavior and character for their students in order to help raise the next generation of life-changers. It’s on us!
The College of Education at Grand Canyon University offers education degrees that help prepare you to teach in 21st century classrooms. Visit our website for more information about our curriculum and Christian heritage.