Developing Character in Our Kids



What makes a student successful? What makes adults successful? Is it how much they know? To me, it’s the character of a man or woman that makes the biggest difference. When I look back over my years of teaching, my biggest frustrations with students (and parents) revolve around issues like responsibility, dishonesty, short-sightedness, dependence, lack of perseverance, and lack of tenacity. As Angela Duckworth so eloquently details in her TED Talk, the biggest indicator of success is grit.

For years, educational “experts” have been telling us that students fail, students are mean, students are depressed because of their lack of self-esteem. I see students with the opposite problem: they are completely self-consumed and think of themselves as invincible. “I can drink and drive and will never get caught or get in an accident.” “I can be lazy and not do any hard work and turn out just fine. I’ll get by somehow.” Today’s young people suffer from a lack of character that revolves around an extreme self-centered attitude.

So if we want kids to focus more on others and develop strong character, what do we as educators do? Build up their SELF esteem? I believe that approach creates more self-centered, ego-inflated citizens. First, we can model other-centeredness, caring, giving, and kindness for our kids. We should be smothering them with positive messages, encouragement, and acts of kindness. In addition, teachers should be highlighting positive peer role models.

Friday, a 12-year old boy had a dream come true: he got a foul ball at a Red Sox game. But instead of standing up, celebrating his moment, and pocketing the ball, he turned to the little girl behind him and handed it to her. Ryan acted without even thinking! He did it because it’s nice to do! What an amazing role model. Let’s lift up Ryan and make him a hero for our kids to admire, rather than all the characterless actors, musicians, and athletes that our society loves to worship. And after you watch this, submit a comment with a link to other inspiring stories of selflessness that we teachers can use as positive role models for our kids.

The Bedley Bros. EdChat Ep. 22: Joan Young


Joan Young is a leading voice for student self-efficacy. She has a background in psychology and counseling. Joan is a published author and currently is a teacher coach. On this episode Joan encourages teachers to connect in a positive way with students and their families.

Show Notes

Finding Joan on the Web

TouchCast App (Free!)

Google Apps for Education

 

 

Inspiring Video: Richie, the Engineer with No Arms


Richie was born with no arms. His whole life has been a course in design engineering. As you kick off your new school year, this is a perfect time to show this awe-inspiring video to instill determination, hard-work, and positive attitude in your students. Personally, I couldn’t watch this video without tearing up. Richie is one of my new heroes.

Here are some suggestions for classroom use. Give your students some time to pair share their feelings after watching the video. Don’t rush into a whole class discussion or assignment right away. After ample time to process, ask your students some questions: What challenges do you face in life? How does Richie inspire you to become a greater person? What questions would you ask Richie if you could meet him? Perhaps you will assign a response essay or ask your students to blog about Richie. Maybe you could write to Richie and thank him for the example he sets for young people.

The Bedley Bros. #EdChat Ep. 21: Gene Bedley


The Bedley Bros. have finally reached the pinnacle of education rock stars. This week, we interview our dad, Gene Bedley. Dad was honored as the PTA National Educator of the Year in 1985. He is the Executive Director of the National Character Education Center. Our dad’s innovative work in values-based education has brought him national and international acclaim and recognition by receiving the Rotary, Paul Harris National Outstanding Educator Award and the prestigious Milken Family Foundation National Award for his work in value-based education. The Bureau of Education’s presented Dad with the National Distinguished Teacher Award for his work in character development and school discipline.

He has been described as a Catalyst, Climate Creator, “Value Driven” educator with a compelling message for Americas teachers, parents, and children. Dad Bedley believes that responsibility is the foundational value of all the core values. As a learning behavior strategist, he has trained over 3,000,000 educators from around the world and his Values in Action! Program is in over 25,000 schools worldwide.

But most importantly, he’s a great dad.


The Bedley Bros. #EdChat Ep. 19: Ramsey Musallam


With almost a half million views to date, Ramsey Musallam’s inspiring message of how he fosters curiousity in his high school students is one of the most popular teacher TED Talks on the Internet. Ramsey sat down with Scott and me to have a casual and candid time talking shop.

Show Notes

Ramsey Musallam’s Blog Cycles of Learning

Infinite Thinking Machine

If This Then That (IFTTT)

Curiosity Article from Stanford

The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark

 

 

The Bedley Bros. #EdChat Ep. 10: Rick Morris


The Bedley Bros. have a sit-down with the guru of classroom management and instructional strategies, Rick Morris. He shares thoughts on the Independent Classroom Culture, “happy productive.” Rick believes that classrooms are not going to be truly happy places unless the students operate independently.

Rick Morris’s Website “New Management”

 

Super Spies: Quick and Simple Super Classroom Behavior



As students work in groups, designate one or more students to silently observe the workers. Call them the Super Spies. The Super Spies silently take notes on positive behaviors and then report what they saw to the class. The teacher should be the first Super Spy to model the types of behaviors that should be reported. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it works wonders.

Hannah as a Super Spy
Hannah as a Super Spy
Super Spy Melody
Super Spy Melody

 

 

Cameron takes notes as a Super Spy
Cameron takes notes as a Super Spy

 

Watch as Super Spies report positive behaviors to class.