What does "Character Development" mean?
How is good character promoted in Trillium Lakelands DSB?
Staff and student, as well as parents, volunteers, and community members are expected to model good character choices at all times. To encourage this, the Board adopts a number of unique initiatives:
"I'm a Character" Awards - Anyone from the school community may nominate anyone else from the school community for a "Character Award." These awards are issued by the Director of Education annually.
Elementary School Agendas - These organizers help to reinforce the emphasis on character in our classrooms, as well as to provide teachable moments both in the classroom and at home. The agenda is a useful communication tool for parents and teachers, and also provides a tangible guide to the year's character initiatives.
Puzzle Peace - This unique design was unveiled in the fall of 2009, to great acclaim. It incorporates the ten character traits as "pieces" into a clever puzzle entitled Puzzle "Peace." It is seen in classrooms, school offices, hallways, and Board offices and serves to link our various department together in this most valuable initiative.
Code of Conduct - The Board operates under a Code of Conduct that applies not just to students and teachers, but to all school Board staff, school staff, volunteers, parents, and community members.
What are the School Board character traits?
Schools use many approaches to encourage the development of character traits. The character traits identified by schools in Trillium Lakelands DSB are:
- Goal Setting
How does the School Board foster character growth in schools?
SAFE AND INVITING PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
Physical environment is one of the key indications of a positive school climate. Human behaviour is affected by the physical conditions under which individuals teach and students learn.(Character Education: A Guide For Administrators, DeRoche, 2001)
STAFF MODELLING OF GOOD CHARACTER
Teacher modelling is perhaps the most powerful of all factors that affect character education.
If there is a mismatch between what adults do and what they say, students will imitate what is done. Students may actually ignore or reject what teachers say if it does not fit with students' observations of what they do. "Actions speak louder than words" and "Walking the talk" should not be taken lightly. (Educating Hearts and Minds, DeRoche and Williams, 2001)
RULES AND PROCEDURES FOR PROMOTING CIVILITY
AND A POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE
Rules connect and protect the community. They are the expectations for appropriate behaviour. Procedures make the expectations a reality. They are the practices or the acts that one performs that show understanding of the expectations. (Rules and Procedures for Character Education, Vincent, 2003)
Climate is a term used to describe how people feel about their school. It is a combination of beliefs, values, and attitudes shared by students, teachers, administrators, parents, bus drivers, office personnel, custodians, cafeteria workers, and others who play an important role in the life of the school. When a school has a "winning climate", people feel proud, connected, and committed. They support, help, and care for each other. When climate is right, there is a certain joy in coming to school either to teach or to learn. (Developing Character in Students, Vincent, 1999)
Rich Literature – Readings should be chosen to develop in students not only an appreciation of plot and language but also an appreciation of the moral and social issues that are discussed in great literature or narratives. Reading becomes a bridge to pass on our cultural traditions and experiences from one generation to another. Our literature and narratives cumulatively help us define and determine our future, as well as enlighten us about our past – and not just our distant past.
(Developing Character in Students, Vincent, 1999)
Critical Thinking and Reflection – As educators and parents, one of our goals is ensuring that our students possess the ability to think and reason, to make judgments and wise choices, to figure out situations they've never encountered before, to think beyond themselves and their immediate desires and to engage in the philosophical life. (Developing Character in Students, Vincent, 1999)
Community Engagement – Partnerships which involve all members of school communities are critical in creating cultures that reflect and reinforce the social, emotional, physical and ethical knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviours that students need in order to become caring and socially responsible citizens.
(Finding Common Ground, Glaze, 2006)
Civic Engagement – is the deliberate effort to nurture democratic ideals. It is yet another avenue through which students can further develop respect for self, others, property, the environment, diversity, human rights, and other qualities upon which we can find common ground as Canadians. It implies active participation, a strong student voice in decision making, and engaging in activities that reinforce the need to care about others and our world. (Finding Common Ground, Glaze, 2006)
Service Learning – integrates the teaching method of experiential learning with community service to others. A well-designed service-learning project provides students and teachers opportunities to work together and develop skills and habits of civility. (Restoring School Civility, Vincent, 2005)