In General Knowledge for the Family, School

Activities for Character Education and Teachers

If you’re a teacher battling bullying in your classroom; then one of the best accredited techniques to doing so is using character building. Discover our tips on character education and teachers.

What character building basically does is instilling a sense of ethics and integrity within students; hence introducing the bully to the moral consequences of his actions, and inducing bystanders to take a stand.

By applying a series of simple activities and workshops, followed by a group discussion; you can in fact be on the road to having a bully-free classroom, school, district…who knows if you come to a breakthrough your techniques may even go national!

As previously stated there is no standard routine for you to follow; all you need to do is to start incorporating these activities into your regular curriculum, in a manner that’s kid-friendly and indirect (according to the age-range you’re teaching).

Before we get into ideas and activities for you to employ- first you must remember the four golden rules to successfully build character:

1- You’re not an enforcer, you’re a developer:

We often cross the line between encouraging someone to move forward, and pushing them. Always keep in mind that you will have resilient and skeptical students; and you can’t become defensive or compelling- keep an open mind and light manner. At times, a student simply won’t be ready to conform to your techniques; if they’ve been brought up to a certain ideology, it will be very difficult for you to change it. What you can do however is use as many indirect methods as you can to infuse these principals.

2- remain unbiased

Don’t let your own background or experiences influence your actions; if you’ve been bullied that’s not an excuse for you coerce a bullying student, If you come from a certain heritage or have a certain disability; that doesn’t allow you to have a soft-spot for similar students. Kids sense prejudice and if you don’t set a good example, they’ll subconsciously use at as pretext.

3- Make it fun

School is a burden enough for any teen or child; if you want these exercises to work, you have to make them appealing. It will take more effort on your end to do so, especially if you’re on a tight teaching schedule- but no pain, no gain right?

4-Tailor to suit

If you’re teaching teens, you can’t use Barney as a reference; just as you have to consider backgrounds, social levels and so on. Know your objective before each activity, and plan how you intend to get there.

When dealing with younger children; include as many visuals as you can, use skits and performances, and offer prizes.

It’s a little trickier when handling adolescents; but also think outside the box and try to be as inventive as possible, use funny demos and prepare video montages- if it’s funny then it’s bound to get their attention.

You may have to get the school board’s approval on a lot of these ideas, but it’s still worth the effort knowing the impact it may have on these kids.

Now let’s get to a few activity ideas for you to start off with:

For a younger audience (ages 5-9)

– An idea that worked with one teacher was creating class thank-you cards! This is an excellent idea if you’re on a tight schedule, as they can do it at home and make a fun project out of it. The basic idea would be to pick someone who did them any sort of favour throughout the previous month, and make them an anonymous thank you card to show their appreciation. On the card they wouldn’t say what the person did, but what quality they’ve shown (if someone opened the door for someone else this is being courteous etc..) You would be passing out the cards (so it’s important to know which student made which card) and even though the recipient wouldn’t know the sender, the best card would get a reward! (The one proven to be most thoughtful)

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Ages (8- 12)

– At this age children are really starting to grasp the idea of popularity and social status; some of them will start getting left out and will need a helping hand. What better way to do this then assigning a secret friend? The secret friend would also be anonymous, and would have a series of tasks concerning their “subject” without letting them know who they are (this has to be an iron-clad rule or the purpose will be ruined)- if you sense a child on the verge of bullying, and another on the verge of being bullied, it’s a good idea to assign the latter to the first; while carefully monitoring their behaviour.

Task one- as essay on ten good things about my secret subject. Give them a while to study the other person and identify the good things about them without intervening. Task two- personalized present- each one will have to make their subject a present, and report why they this present is specific to this person.

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Task three- gift of choice- where each student thinks of their own way to support their subject; and they will also report what and why they chose this approach.

At the end each friend will introduce themselves to their subject, and the person who showed the most effort can be given extra credit, or once again a reward.

Even though there shouldn’t be materialistic compensation for doing good; to be real it’s usually the only incentive you might have to get them involved, and it’s still an indirect way of getting them to become more tolerant, helpful etc..

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For teens:

Teens are tricky…they need to be manoeuvred more than any other age range; but at this age they finally have the ability to step outside their own viewpoints and those of others and assume the perspective of a neutral third person. So you can start off by a video montage (maybe try researching celebrities or public figures talk about bullying, then edit it to make it funny) followed by laid-back, friendly group discussions. Teenagers are surprisingly easy to influence if you know how to get to them, and when having their peers endorse an idea, they’ll have no choice but to conform.

Be creative, be patient and persevering; and you’re sure to have an impact.

Spread the word on character education and teachers as these tips on character education and teachers will sure help you a lot!

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