Character - doing the right thing when no one is looking

Character - doing the right thing when no one is looking

The Teacher Professional Standards is a document I have engaged in for a few years now. I was part of the original focus group at Flinders Uni discussing what the standards should include and in recent years I have taught pre-service teachers about the importance of striving to reach each standard to help us improve our teaching practice and of course (most importantly) improve student learning.

In more recent times, I have re-entered into the primary school classroom. I teach Grade 6/7 and LOVE it however, I have encountered some challenging behaviours! Standard 4 emphasises professional practice, in particular 4.3 focuses on managing those challenging behaviours! It states “Manage challenging behaviour: Demonstrate knowledge of practical approaches to manage challenging behaviour.” Now, I am aware that some in the education community do not believe in having to “manage” behaviour and that “behaviour management plans” are  a waste of time and are demeaning to students, but in my experience (and yes I am still new at this and am still gaining experience) I strongly believing in systems to encourage good choices and provide consequences for those choices that are not so good.

Personally, when it comes to managing behaviour, I am concerned about the internal processes just as much as the behaviours we can see outworking in the classroom. Above all, behaviours like kindness and looking out for others are some of the things I look for in the classroom. So, when it came to devising a behaviour management plan I created “character cards”.

Someone once said that “character is doing the right thing when no one is looking”. I love that definition and I encourage my students to focus on this during learning. Character is all about doing the right thing even if i cant see them doing it! It’s about having a pure heart in all they do, their interactions with others and in their motivation to learn. I made little cards called “character cards” which states the above saying on it and they were used an individual rewards and were given out to students who made good choices throughout the day. The whole idea is that they are doing the right thing when they think no one is looking, so I try to catch the kids being good!

On the flip side…. what about the students who made decision that were not so helpful? Well, I used community service like pulling weeds from the oval or sweeping. At times I would take away character cards but this was rare.

The children could redeem the cards for various rewards such as: 10 cards = certificate sent home in their diaries, 15 = prize out of the prize box and 30 = time on our super comfy couch!

The system seemed to work well but now that term 2 is nearly upon us it’s time to rethink and mix things up a bit!!

Stay tuned for more behaviour management ideas ….. if you have come across something that works…. let me know!