Since finishing up Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed (now #6 on The New York Times list of hardcover nonfiction best sellers) I’ve thought a lot about how to incorporate character skills into my classroom the next time I teach.
In my last post about character, I narrowed down a list of 24 character to a more manageable list of five: zest, grit, discipline, empathy, and integrity.
It’s a working list that might change. For example, I think I prefer “self-control” over “discipline.” And a few readers suggested “self-awareness” as a critical character skill to include. (Thank you, readers!)
Given that the final list may evolve — and perhaps I will involve my students in the process — the next step is to define the skills. That way, students can demonstrate them, and I can teach them.
Here is what I have so far. These are just from my head. Later I’ll consult other resources. Please feel free to challenge and improve:
Being joyful and positive and open to life and learning
Being present and participating fully
Working hard and conscientiously on an important long-term goal
Bouncing back from and persevering through challenges and failure
Maintaining focus amid distractions
Controlling impulses and emotions, staying calm when irritated
Respecting the dignity and feelings of others
Understanding how your actions affect others
Doing the right thing even when it’s challenging
Being honest in your words and actions
So what do you think so far? Am I missing something huge? Or are there too many? Should I change my list or modify my descriptors? I’m interested in what you have to say!
Coming up: A little bit more about why.