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There’s No School Like Home

By Ed DeRoche

I was home-schooled, not in math or science, but in character and behavior. I had co-instructors both of whom graduated from the 8th grade – my Mother and Father. My Father was French but didn’t speak it. My Mother was Irish but spoke fluent French (long story). My Father was a shoe salesman, and my Mother sold dresses in a women’s clothing store.

They were on the same page in all things related to the character and behavior for each of their four kids. Here are a few things they taught us (with tongue-in-cheek).

Entitlement: Don’t get the idea that you are entitled anything. The world was here first; it doesn’t owe you a living.

Religion: You better pray that when your Mother and I come home from work you have all your chores done and haven’t fought with your sister or brothers.

Logic: You want to know why? Because I said so. If you two are going to kill each other, do it outside.

Irony: Keep crying and we’ll give you something to cry about.

Perseverance: You are not leaving this table until you eat all of the spinach.

Wisdom: When you get to be our age only then will you understand what we are saying.

Justice: One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.

Heritage: You’re just like your Father!

Patience: Just wait until we get home from work, then you will know!

Humility: Don’t ever think you are better than anyone else, because you are not.

Trust: If your Mother comes home from the conference with your teacher and it is not a good report, trust me, you’ll hear about it and won’t like what you hear.

To add to the “advice” from my parents, I have selected four of many “pieces of advice” offered by author Rodolfo Costa, Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes. https://www.goodreads.com

1. Learn to love someone when they least deserve it, because that is when they need your love most.

2. Many people are so poor that the only thing they have is money. Cultivate your spiritual growth.

3. Learn to adapt. Things change, circumstances change. Adjust yourself and your efforts to what is presented to you so you can respond accordingly. Never see change as a threat, because it can be an opportunity to learn, to grow, evolve and become a better person.

4. When you experience a negative circumstance or event, do not dwell on it. Be proactive — put your attention on what you need to do to bring the situation to a positive result.
Feel free to add your home-schooled “character” learnings here.

A New Year Reminder
“The best teacher is not necessarily the one who possesses the most knowledge, but the one who most effectively enables the students to believe in their ability to learn.” -Norman Cousins, American political journalist, author, professor

HOW TO REACH US
Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., Director Character Education Resource Center
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-2250
http://charactermatters.sandiego.edu
deroche@sandiego.edu

 

 

 

 

May I Quote You?

May I Quote You?

I’ve been reading the U.S. Department of Education’s newsletter, The Teachers Edition. One of the items appearing in each issue is called “What Teachers Are Talking About This Week.”
Here are the teacher quotes from the October 25, 2017 edition.

“No dream is to impossible to reach. That’s what drives my teaching every day with my students!” — Teacher, Tennessee

“Strive to be the type of teacher that brings passion and positive energy to the classroom every day!” — Teacher, New Jersey

“A teacher should always teach like a principal is watching; a principal should always lead like their teachers are watching.” — Principal, Indiana.

“Be bold. Say what needs to be said. Others may be thinking the same, and if no one speaks up, the opportunity is lost.” — Principal, Wisconsin

”Three of the best words to tell kids: Proud of You! Repeat often.” — Teacher, Missouri

That sparks an idea. How about a blog of quotes about what character is and why we teach it? I thought it was a good idea but you can be the judge.

What Is Character?

“Character Development is a relational process. Character is a construct that links the person positively to his or her social world. Relationships are the foundation of character.” – Tuft’s Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. What we make of our selves, what we make of our lives, is a matter of choice—our choice, and our responsibility.”  Paraphrased — Harry Potter’s being counseled by the wise old headmaster, Dumbledore

“The word CHARACTER has two Cs in it ; one stands for CHOICE and the other for CONSEQUENCES. Living a life of good character doesn’t happen by CHANCE, nor does it happen by CIRCUMSTANCES. It happens by CHOICES.”  – Ed DeRoche

“Excellence is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution. It represents the wisest option among many alternatives. Choice, not chance, determines your destiny, dreams and values.” – Aristotle

“Character is the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – it is the source from which self respect springs.” – Joan Didion

“Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided…. Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  -Abraham Lincoln

Why Teach Character?

“How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of living unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.”  – James Cash Penny—founder of J.C. Penney Corporation

“Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: It is character.”  – Albert Einstein,

“If we expect children to behave in school, we must teach them to take responsibility for their behavior; but we must also teach them how to make better choices, how to develop personal ethics, and how to solve problems.” – LouAnne Johnson, Principal

“Many teachers say: I have no time to teach character  – I have too much on my plate already. That’s like saying: I’m cooking dinner but there is no time to make it nutritious!” – CJ Moloney

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.'”  – Dan Rather

“If we don’t teach kids moral reasoning skills, including how to challenge appropriately (non-moral) conventional issues, we may be engaging in immoral education.”  –Larry Nucci, Psychology Professor

“Academic test scores do not correlate with any of the
virtues to which our democracy aspires. None!
Good education provides a sense of community,
personal identity, inner strength, purpose, meaning, and
belonging. ” – Dr. John Goodlad

“Parents (and teachers) can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. —Anne Frank
The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”  – Noah Webster, American lexicographer

As noted above, character is about relationships.
Relationships are about choices.
Included in one’s choice should be ”respect.”

“Honest communication is built on truth and integrity and upon respect of the one for the other.”  – Benjamin E. Mays, American civil rights icon

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” – Laurence Sterne, Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman.

Send us your quote about teaching and/or your favorite character-related quote.
character@sandiego.edu

It’s About Skill Development!

It’s About Skill Development!

by Ed DeRoche, Character Education Resource Center, Director, University of San Diego

A “skills” quote:

“Expressing care for another is not an innate ability present more naturally in some people than others, but rather a skill that can be taught and nurtured through a supportive educational environment.”

-Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University

A “skills” memory:

”I loved playing baseball. Our city had open try-outs for minor league teams. On day four, one of the coaches said to me, ‘Son, we can’t have players on this team without skills in every area.’ I had ‘grit’ but couldn’t hit. I also had ‘perseverance’ so I became a teacher, a principal, a dean.”

(The question of how skillfully is open to debate.)

At our Character Matters Conference (June 2017), sitting with a few teachers over our delicious box lunches, we started talking about “21st Century Skills” and the “new” character education movement – the focus on the social-emotional needs of students. I expressed the opinion that I thought the programmatic/instructional emphasis was on the emotional side of the SEL (follow the money) with some, but not too much, attention helping students develop their “social skills.”

As I noted in my 2013 blog , “The Skills Game” recent employee surveys showed that employers are looking for certain qualities in employees such as listening and communication skills, adaptability, creative thinking skills, problem-solving skills, goal setting skills, and competence in reading, writing, and computation skills. It has been reported that 85% of those who lose jobs do so because of inadequate social skills.

It seems to me that social skill development should be an essential part of schools’ character education initiatives (with character strengths and emotional skills as the other two).

A survey conducted through Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, asked the question: What are the best skills for kids to have these days?

The responses:

90% – Communication

86% – Reading

79% – Math

77% – Teamwork

75% -Writing

74% – Logic

58% -Science

25% – Athletics

24% – Music

23% -Art

Social skills include habits and attributes that some call “Habits of the Heart.” This includes providing instruction and practice in helping students to be respectful, be responsible, be honest, be trustworthy, be caring, be courageous, be courtesy, be compassionate, and be fair.

These learned skills are coupled with “Habits of the Mind” – being a critical thinker, appreciating the importance of knowledge and learning, learning how to learn, practicing self-discipline, making ethical decisions, learning to problem solve, controlling anger and emotions, resisting peer pressure, and thinking before acting.

The third skill set is often labeled, “Habits of the Hands,” which includes knowing and practicing the Golden Rule, being of service to others, and becoming an active, participating citizen.

In my research for this blog, I found a program developed by Stephen Elliott (Vanderbilt Peabody education and psychology researcher) and co-authored with Frank Gresham, of the newly published The Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP).

They identified the top 10 skills that students need to succeed based on surveys of over 8,000 teachers and over 20 years of research in classrooms across the country. The skills are:

  • Listen to others.
  • Follow the steps.
  • Follow the rules.
  • Ignore distractions.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take turns when you talk.
  • Get along with others.
  • Stay calm with others.
  • Be responsible for your behavior.
  • Do nice things for others.

They report: “In our research, we found that elementary kids and teachers value cooperation and self-control. When we teach and increase those behaviors, we reduce problem behaviors and maximize learning time…. “

“If we increase social skills, we see commensurate increases in academic learning. That doesn’t mean that social skills make you smarter; it means that these skills make you more amenable to learning.”

More information about the SSIS Program can be found at: http://www.PearsonAssessments.com.

Another discovery – a web site, called SKILLSYOUNEED (https://skillsyouneed.com), which provides information and resources for each of the following category of skills: Personal, Interpersonal, Leadership, Learning, Presentation, Writing, Numeracy, and Parenting skills.

As a reminder, I published two blogs on this topic that may be worth your review:

  1. “The Skills Game: Who’s on First? What’s on Second? How’s on Third!” [Published by SmartBrief-Education, 11/12/2013]
  1. “The Skills of Question-Asking,” [February 2015 Blog]

http://sites.sandiego.edu/character/blog/2015/02/23

And finally, think about this each month during the new school year:

Children who scored high on social skills were four times as likely to graduate from college than those who scored low.”

Teaching Social Skills to Improve Grade and Lives, David Bornstein, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/24

Question/Comments: deroche@sandiego.edu

AC-CENT-TU-ATE THE POSITIVE IN YOUR CLASSROOM

October Blog

AC-CENT-TU-ATE THE POSITIVE IN YOUR CLASSROOM

Edward DeRoche, Director

“You’ve got to Accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative…!”
-Song and lyrics by H. Arlen/J. Mercer

Last July, I read Neville Billimoria’s issue of “Soul Food Friday” in which he suggested that we read a book by Jon Gordon titled The Positive Dog: A Story About the Power of Positivity. (www.feedthepositivedog.com)

I bought the book and read it. The book is about positive thinking. It reminded me of a very popular book that I read years ago, Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking.

What is positive thinking? In short, it means “approaching life’s challenges with a positive attitude, making the most out of bad situations, seeing the best in other people, and viewing oneself in a positive light.”

Gordon’s book is a story about two dogs both of which, he writes, are within us. The “positive dog,” Bubba is his name, is loving, kind, and optimistic. Matt, the “negative dog,” is fearful, angry, and pessimistic. Gordon urges us to feed the “positive dog” and starve the “negative dog.”

This “positive-negative” story is similar to the Cherokee Indian’s parable in which a grandfather is talking with his grandson and says that there are two wolves inside us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf, which represents things like kindness, bravery, and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear. The grandson stops and thinks about it. Then turns to his grandfather and asks, “Grandfather, which one wins?” The grandfather quietly replies, “The one you feed.”

As a teacher you are probably asking yourself two questions: Why do I want to create a classroom of students who are positive thinkers? And, How will I do it?

There are two reasons (and probably more) to the Why question. One relates to the culture of your classroom. Students will do better when they are aware of the two “dogs” in themselves. Like any skill, positive thinking techniques need to be practiced to be effective. They need to be modeled (by you and others). They need to be imitated. They need to be acknowledged.

Being an effective classroom manager is the second reason. If students are taught to communicate in positive ways, to reflect on what they say and do, to value positive relationships, and demonstrate behaviors (words, actions) that empower them, research shows that these students will have fewer emotional problems, get better grades, and be more positive about their behaviors and relationships.

With regard to the How question, Gordon offers several suggestions that you can modify for your efforts to promote positivity in your classroom. He writes about the “positive boomerang”—“feed the positive dog” and you benefit yourself and others. Being positive not only changes you (the teacher), it changes everyone around you (students, colleagues).

I would remind you that classroom relationships are developed and tested daily, that challenges create opportunities, complaints may be the basis for solutions, and wrong choices should lead to second chances.

Gordon notes that both positive and negative energy are “contagious” and that “negative energy serves a purpose.”

“If you didn’t have negative experiences, you would never be able to appreciate the positive ones.” He adds, “Negativity builds character and strength when we use it to build positive and emotional muscle.”

In a chapter called “Feed the Positive Dog: Action Plan,” Gordon suggests that we feed the “positive dog” by “practicing gratitude—take 10 minutes each day and make a list of what you are thankful for.”

He also talks about “reaching out to others” and “deciding to make a difference.” Gordon recommends ‘”focusing on the get to vs. the have to, smiling more, writing thank-you notes, associating with positive and uplifting people, starting a “success journal” in which you (and your students) write down the one great thing about the day.

You may remember “The Positive Teacher Pledge” that appeared in my September Blog (http://www.smartbrief.com/original/2017/09/proverbs-practices-and-pledges):

I repeat the first four bullet points that underscore “positivity.”

  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students, and school.
  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.
  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.
  • When I am surrounded by pessimism, I will choose optimism.At the very least, put this on your bulletin board:

    In this classroom: “Positive attitudes fuel; Negative attitudes drain! “

Character Education Resource Center deroche@sandiego.edu

TEACHING PROMISES, PRACTICES, AND A PLEDGE

 

 

September 2017 Blog

TEACHING PROMISES, PRACTICES, AND A PLEDGE

Edward DeRoche, Director

Character Education Resource Center

 

                                                           Photo Credit: Huffington Post

The Promises

As you start this new school year, here are 10 “promises” that you should internalize into your teaching, the management of your classroom, and most importantly, in your relationships with students. What is modeled is imitated!

 

  1. Behavior rewarded is behavior repeated—good and bad!
  2. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.
  3. What we allow, we teach; what we accept, they will do. (M. Borba)
  4. The classroom is as much a social setting as it is an academic one.
  5. Character is about second chances but only if you learn from your mistakes.
  6. If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true, do not say it. (M. Aurelius)
  7. Take the Pottery Barn oath: You break it , you own it.
  8. Negative attitudes drain, positive attitudes fuel. (M. Marshall)
  9. Relationships are to learning as location is to real estate. (J .Comer)
  10. The world is run by “C” students! (A. Maguire)

Make it 15 by adding your won 5 promises!

The Practices

The question: What can we learn from the practices of effective, competent, and experienced teachers? Let’s take a look at a couple of reports.

Eric Jensen interviewed over 100 principals and asked them to list skills they look for when hiring a new teacher.

In no particular order, the following were listed:

 

  1. Good attitude – optimistic
  2. Resourceful – able to take care of their own problems
  3. Love of learning – projecting this to students
  4. Handle stress – being a resilient learner
  5. Ability to read emotions – detecting when students are apathetic
  6. Responsible – showing up every day, not blaming others
  7. A willingness to try something new or different
  8. Likes kids
  9. Willing to be a role model
  10. Loves learning and making a difference

Other considerations included: being a team member, enthusiasm, good sense of humor, flexibility, creativity, self-confidence, and a passion about teaching.

From Marvin Marshall’s Monthly Newsletter- Volume 10 Number 12,
December 2010 — http://www.MarvinMarshall.com

In an article in Principal, (May/June 2013, p. 56.) titled, “Four Steps to Close the Gap,” Gail Connelly, the NAESP Executive Director writes:

“Effective teachers do all three of the following. They are extremely good classroom managers. They know how to teach lessons that engage students, spark their eagerness to continue learning, and then lead them to the mastery of the subject matter. They have positive expectations for student success.”             www.naesp.org

Annette Breaux is an internationally renowned author and speaker. She authored the national best seller 101 Answers for New Teachers and Their Mentors. Several years ago she wrote an article addressing the questions: Can anyone be a great teacher? What are the qualities great teachers have?

 

  • In summary, she says that they truly love children; are masters at classroom management; possess a thorough understanding of their subject matter; understand that they are actors on a stage …capable of entertaining, capturing and enrapturing their audiences every day; are positive, kind, compassionate, patient people; don’t impose their moods on their students; have a sense of humor and share it daily with their students.

 

  • She adds that great teachers recognize the importance of establishing positive relationships with their students, have high expectations of all students, and that they are not perfect teachers and when they make mistakes, they act as good role models do, admitting their mistakes, learning from these mistakes and offering apologies if necessary.

SmartBlogs on EducationCan anyone be a great teacher?

Annette Breaux, February 15, 2013

The Pledge

Now, as each of you begin a new school year take The Positive Teacher Pledge! Repeat after me!

 

  • I pledge to be a positive teacher and positive influence on my fellow educators, students and school.

 

  • I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me.

 

  • I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity.

 

  • When I am surrounded by pessimism, I will choose optimism.

 

  • When I feel fear, I will choose faith.

 

  • When I want to hate, I will choose love.

 

  • When I want to be bitter, I will choose to get better.

 

  • When I experience a challenge, I will look for opportunity to learn and grow, and help others grow.

 

  • When faced with adversity, I will find strength.

 

  • When I experience a setback, I will be resilient.

 

  • When I meet failure, I will move forward and create a future success.

 

  • With vision, hope, and faith, I will never give up and will always find ways to make a difference.

 

  • I believe my best days are ahead of me, not behind me.

 

  • I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges.

 

  • I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes my students better.

 

  • So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on my students, school and the world!

One of my Friday pleasures is to read Neville Billimoria’s email column call Soul Food Friday. Neville is Senior Vice President for Membership/Marketing and Chief Advocacy Officer at Mission Federal Credit Union. This “Pledge” is taken from the July 26, 2013 post of Soul Food Friday.

 Comments/Questions

deroche@sandiego.edu

 

IT’S ABOUT SKILL DEVELOPMENT!

AUGUST 2017 BLOG

IT’S ABOUT SKILL DEVELOPMENT!

A “skills” quote:

“Expressing care for another is not an innate ability present more naturally in some people than others, but rather a skill that can be taught and nurtured through a supportive educational environment.”

-Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life, Stanford University (bold is mine)

A “skills” memory:

”I loved playing baseball. Our city had open try-outs for minor league teams. On day four, one of the coaches said to me, ‘Son, we can’t have players on this team without skills in every area.’ I had ‘grit’ but couldn’t hit. I also had ‘perseverance’ so I became a teacher, a principal, a dean.”

(The question of how skillfully is open to debate.)

At our Character Matters Conference (June 2017), sitting with a few teachers over our delicious box lunches, we started talking about “21st Century Skills” and the “new” character education movement – the focus on the social-emotional needs of students. I expressed the opinion that I thought the programmatic/instructional emphasis was on the emotional side of the SEL (follow the money) with some, but not too much, attention helping students develop their “social skills.”

As I noted in my 2013 blog , “The Skills Game” recent employee surveys showed that employers are looking for certain qualities in employees such as listening and communication skills, adaptability, creative thinking skills, problem-solving skills, goal setting skills, and competence in reading, writing, and computation skills. It has been reported that 85% of those who lose jobs do so because of inadequate social skills.

It seems to me that social skill development should be an essential part of schools’ character education initiatives (with character strengths and emotional skills as the other two).

A survey conducted through Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, asked the question: What are the best skills for kids to have these days?

The responses:

90% – Communication

86% – Reading

79% – Math

77% – Teamwork

75% -Writing

74% – Logic

58% -Science

25% – Athletics

24% – Music

23% -Art

Social skills include habits and attributes that some call “Habits of the Heart.” This includes providing instruction and practice in helping students to be respectful, be responsible, be honest, be trustworthy, be caring, be courageous, be courtesy, be compassionate, and be fair.

These learned skills are coupled with “Habits of the Mind” – being a critical thinker, appreciating the importance of knowledge and learning, learning how to learn, practicing self-discipline, making ethical decisions, learning to problem solve, controlling anger and emotions, resisting peer pressure, and thinking before acting.

The third skill set is often labeled, “Habits of the Hands,” which includes knowing and practicing the Golden Rule, being of service to others, and becoming an active, participating citizen.

In my research for this blog, I found a program developed by Stephen Elliott (Vanderbilt Peabody education and psychology researcher) and co-authored with Frank Gresham, of the newly published The Social Skills Improvement System Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP).

They identified the top 10 skills that students need to succeed based on surveys of over 8,000 teachers and over 20 years of research in classrooms across the country. The skills are:

  • Listen to others.
  • Follow the steps.
  • Follow the rules.
  • Ignore distractions.
  • Ask for help.
  • Take turns when you talk.
  • Get along with others.
  • Stay calm with others.
  • Be responsible for your behavior.
  • Do nice things for others.

They report: “In our research, we found that elementary kids and teachers value cooperation and self-control. When we teach and increase those behaviors, we reduce problem behaviors and maximize learning time…. “

“If we increase social skills, we see commensurate increases in academic learning. That doesn’t mean that social skills make you smarter; it means that these skills make you more amenable to learning.”

More information about the SSIS Program can be found at: http://www.PearsonAssessments.com.

Another discovery – a web site, called SKILLSYOUNEED (https://skillsyouneed.com), which provides information and resources for each of the following category of skills: Personal, Interpersonal, Leadership, Learning, Presentation, Writing, Numeracy, and Parenting skills.

As a reminder, I published two blogs on this topic that may be worth your review:

  1. The Skills Game: Who’s on First? What’s on Second? How’s on Third!” [Published by SmartBrief-Education, 11/12/2013]

2.  “The Skills of Question-Asking,” [February 2015 Blog]

And finally, think about this each month during the new school year:

Children who scored high on social skills were four times as likely to graduate from college than those who scored low.”

Teaching Social Skills to Improve Grade and Lives, David Bornstein, http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/24

Question/Comments: deroche@sandiego.edu

WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED “LEADERSHIP?”

                             WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED “LEADERSHIP?”

                                          Edward DeRoche, Director

                                   Character Education Resource Center

                                              deroche@sandiego.edu

Character is the center pole, the core of leadership effectiveness.                                                                 —–Zenger and Folkman (The Extraordinary Leader)

In May, I read an article that asked the question, “Is Your School Better Because You Lead It? (ASCD, V 74, N8 May 2017).

Good question. But what’s the answer?

The answer is captured, I believe, in these additional questions: What is leadership? One has to know what it is before deciding its value.

What is leadership in a school setting? Does the culture of an organization (business, non-profit educational) determine or influence the style or behaviors of its leaders?

Are there differences (traits/habits/behaviors/styles) between male and female leaders in and out of schools settings??

Because of space, I want to focus on what leadership is because it helps lay the groundwork for examining the other questions.

What do we mean when we talk about “leadership?” Depends on who you ask and what you read.

I have had a long-term interest in presidential leadership, so let’s start there. It is common for historians and others to rank presidents based on the effectiveness of their leadership. Rankings are based on a variety of leadership factors. Two examples.

Fred Greenstein (“The Presidential Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to Clinton”) offers six qualities related to the leadership styles and performances of presidents — public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence.

Historian Robert Dallek (“Lessons from the Lives and Times of Presidents”) describes seven factors that distinguish effective and ineffective presidential leaders — vision, pragmatism, charisma, consensus, trust, judgment, and luck.

In 2000, I published an article in the Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education, and Development (September 2000, Vol. 39, Issue 1) titled, “Leadership for Character Education Programs.” My list for school or programs leaders suggested that school and program leaders should be visionaries, missionaries, consensus builders, knowledge sources, standard bearers, architects, role models, communicators, collaborators, resource providers, and evaluators.

The Turknett Leadership Group offers a “Leadership Character Model” stating that “Leadership is about character – who you are not what you do.” The model includes three core qualities as the keys of “leadership character:”

(1) Integrity — honesty, credibility, trustworthy. “Without integrity, no leader can be successful.”

(2) Respect — empathy, lack of blame, motivational mastery, humility. “Respect helps create a culture of partnership and teamwork.”

(3) Responsibility — self-confidence, accountability, focus on the whole, courage. “Great leaders accept full responsibility for personal success and for the success of projects, teams, and the entire organization.”

Recently, P.B Stark (https://www.pertstark.com) wrote about the “10 C’s of Great Leadership.” His ten included: character, communication, care, compassion, connectedness, commitment, conviction, competence, courage, and confidence.

Daniel Goleman, a psychologist at Rutgers University and author of Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, adds the ability to identify and monitor emotions — “your own and others” and “to manage relationships. He writes that the qualities (competencies) associated with “emotional intelligence” distinguish the best leaders and include:

(1) Self-Awareness –Realistic self-confidence: You understand your own strengths and limitations; you operate from competence and know when to rely on someone else on the team. Emotional Insight-You understand your feelings. Being aware of what makes you angry, for instance, can help you manage that anger.

(2) Self-managementResilience: You stay calm under pressure and recover quickly from upsets. You don’t brood or panic. In a crisis, people look to the leader for reassurance; if the leader is calm, they can be, too. Emotional balance: You keep any distressful feelings in check — instead of blowing up at people, you let them know what’s wrong and what the solution is. Self-motivation: You keep moving toward distant goals despite setbacks.

(3) Empathy–Cognitive and emotional empathy: Because you understand other perspectives, you can put things in ways colleagues comprehend. And you welcome their questions, just to be sure. Cognitive empathy, along with reading another person’s feelings accurately, makes for effective communication. Good listening: You pay full attention to the other person and take time to understand what they are saying, without talking over them or hijacking the agenda.

(4) Relationship Skills–Compelling communication: You put your points in persuasive, clear ways so that people are motivated as well as clear about expectations. Team playing: People feel relaxed working with you. One sign: They laugh easily around you.

So what is leadership? James MacGregor Burns says” When you deal with human beings in leadership situations, you deal with what is essential to the study of leadership, namely, moral and ethical issues. Through the study of lives, one finds out how individuals have confronted specific actions and decisions relating to leaderships positions.

Note carefully what Burns says in his quote—leadership is about moral and ethical issues-thus about the character of the leader.

Graduation Speech— “Four Keys to Success”

Graduation Speech— “Four Keys to Success”

June Blog-deroche@sandiego.edu

GraduationsI’ve been to over fifty and gave a few high school speeches. Many years ago, I gave the “Four Keys” speech. Here is the scene, as I remember it.

A small rural high school. It took longer to drive from home to the school and back than the ceremony itself. Not wanting to go that distance by myself, I invited my family to go with me (my wife and four kids).

I sensed little enthusiasm for this trip. So using one of the politicians’ favorite techniquesthe quid pro quo (they call it the “pay-off”), I made the case: “We won’t be there more than two hours and if they pay me, I will take you to dinner and a movie.” They bought it.

We loaded the four kids into our station wagon (pre-SUV) and off we went with snacks and games. By unanimous decision, they decided to remain in the car during my speech. At that time there were no iPads, iPhonesno Internet. They read a book. They talked to one another. They played games. One of our favorite car games is what we called “What is it? Who is it?”one of our strategies to get the kids into the news of the day.

I gave my twenty-minute speech. In less than two hours, I‘m walking through the parking lot and I hear this loud voice yelling from our car, “Did they pay you?” I smiled, held the envelope overhead and waved it, and off we went to eat and see a movie.

I still have the “Four Keys to Success” speech because I got it published. So, absent of some really relevant stories and a few pithy quotes that I used in the speech, let me outline what I told the students about the “Four Keys to Success”competence, values, teaching, and responsibility.

I defined each starting with competence. I offered them a few examples suggesting that competence in somethingin athletics, in academics, in arts and music, in mechanics, etc.is a good start on the road to being successful.

I pointed out that in the real world competence is not enough. It has to be complimented and underscored by values (today we call these virtues and character strengths). I talk about trust, compassion, and courage. I told the students that a life worth living is built around positive relationships.

I shared this quote with them and recommended that they start off each day with the “I WILL’s.”

I will do the best I can today!

I will treat people as I want to be treated!

I will contribute to the groups that I belong to!

I followed with a description of the remaining two keysteaching and responsibility. I noted that they will find out in the course of their lives that they will be teachers (modeling)what they say, teaches; what they do, teaches; how they interact with others, teaches.

Then I explored the idea of responsibility (respect is implied) noting the three PsPersonal responsibility, Professional responsibility, Public responsibility. I defined each one with a short story or an example. I suggested that successful people carry out their responsibilities by getting involved in thingsby volunteering, by teaching others, by donating their time and talent to help others in their community and among their friends. I offered this quote:

“This is success: to be able to carry money without spending it; to be able to bear an injustice without retaliation; to be able to keep on the job until it is finished; to be able to do one’s duty even when one is not watched; to be able to accept criticism without letting it whip you.”

 I ended the speech by saying: “On the key chain that you will carry around with you after today, remember that there are at least four keys on it that will open up doors or start your engines—they are competence, values, teaching, and responsibility. I wish each of you a great deal of success.”

Now it’s June 2017 and I have been introduced to new ideas about what success is all about by reading Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

She writes about finding one’s potential at school, in the family, and in one’s profession. She said in a recent interview:

A fixed mindset is when people believe their basic qualities, their intelligence, their talents, their abilities, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount, and that’s that. But other people have a growth mindset. They believe that even basic talents and abilities can be developed over time through experience, mentorship, and so on. And these are the people who go for it. They’re not always worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look, what a mistake will mean. They challenge themselves and grow.”

Great stuff to add to each student’s key chain.

 Success can lead to the greatest failure, which is arrogance and pride.

Failure can lead to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.

– David Brooks, NYT Columnist

~Ed

See my full speech here:

 

 

 

A CHARACTER EDUCATION FRAMEWORK: AN EXAMPLE

                                                May 2017 Blog  

            A CHARACTER EDUCATION FRAMEWORK: AN EXAMPLE

Many schools and school districts use “VAMP” to frame their character education programs. VAMP is an acronym for the “Virtues- A- Month Program.” VAMP helps all school personnel, students, and parents/guardians focus on a specific virtue. VAMP encourages everyone to be on the same page in the teaching, learning, and practicing of that particular monthly virtue.

The Cobb County Character Education program is an example. Note that the district’s framework is centered on a monthly virtue (RESPECT), then defines elements of the “respect “ (self- respect) and over a 4-week period intending to integrate these “character traits into the total school environment, as well as into the community.”

RESPECT: Showing regard for the worth of someone or something
Week 1 Self-respect* Pride and belief in one’s self and in achievement of one’s potential.
Week 2 Respect for Others* Concern for and motivation to act for the welfare of others.
Week 3 Respect for Authority Respect for those individuals who are in positions of responsibility.
Week 4 Respect for Learning and Punctuality* Appreciation for the importance of and effort involved in acquiring knowledge. Showing high regard for the worth of promptness.

 

INTEGRITY: Steadfast adherence to a strict code of moral, ethical or artistic values; to consistently be truthful, sincere, and fair. Keeping one’s word.
Week 5 Honesty* Truthfulness and sincerity; free from deception.
Week 6 Trustworthiness Worthy of confidence; reliable; dependable.
Week 7 Self-control The power to direct or regulate your actions and emotions.
Week 8 Justice / Fairness* Correct, proper, and reasonable treatment of behavior and viewpoints of others.

 

RESPONSIBILITY: Taking care of one’s self and others; to carry out a duty or task carefully and thoroughly
Week 9 Cheerfulness*/
Positive Attitude
Good humored, bright and pleasant. Realistic positive confidence of feeling toward one’s self.
Week 10 Accountability Being responsible for your decisions and actions; dependable.
Week 11 Honor A sense of what is right, just and true; privilege.
Week 12 School Pride / Cleanliness* Care and satisfaction in your school’s environment, achievement and success.

 

CITIZENSHIP*: Respectful devotion or allegiance to one’s country and/or school
Week 13 Democracy Individual, responsible participation in decision making; government by the people.
Week 14 Patriotism* Respectful devotion or love to one’s country.
Week 15 Service* to Others Useful, usable, and required duty to others.

 

COMPASSION*: Showing concern or sympathy for others
Week 16 Gratitude A feeling of thankful appreciation for benefits received.
Week 17 Generosity Unselfish willingness to give and share your time and talents in your community.
Week 18 Kindness* Being gentle, willing to help, friendly, courteous, and considerate.

 

RESILIENCE: The capacity to successfully manage high levels of change
Week 19 Humility Willingness to admit mistakes and take responsibility; not pretentious.
Week 20 Self-confidence / Empowerment Realistic positive attitude about, and trust in one’s self; sense of security, and self-assurance.
Week 21 Flexibility*/ Creativity Adaptability and versatility; clever, imaginative, and inventive.
Week 22 Initiative / Effort Proactive; thinking and taking action on your own; industry.
Week 23 Self-reliance Relying on one’s own abilities, efforts, or judgments.

 

TOLERANCE*: Consideration for the individual differences, views and beliefs of other people
Week 24 Acceptance Recognition of the diversity of others, their opinions, practices, and culture.
Week 25 Forgiveness Benefiting yourself and others by ceasing to feel resentment towards others.
Week 26 Cooperation*/ Sportsmanship* Working together for a common purpose. The ability to take winning and losing without gloating or complaining.
Week 27 Courtesy / Civility* Polite, civil, and courteous behavior towards others in words and action.

 

COMMITMENT: The obligation or pledge to carry out some action or to support some policy or person
Week 28 Dedication / Loyalty Sense of commitment and duty.
Week 29 Respect for the Environment* The conservation and care of your surroundings and planet earth.
Week 30 Motivation The desire to move towards a goal.
Week 31 Leadership The ability to take on every task with a sense of purpose and caring for those around them.

 

ACCOMPLISHMENT: Pride and appreciation for attaining one’s goals
Week 32 Perseverance*` Working hard without giving up.
Week 34 Courage* To meet a challenge without giving in to fear.
Week 35 Patience* / Moderation The power to wait calmly without complaining; avoiding extremes.
Week 36 Wisdom Good judgment; ability to make reasoned decisions; insight.
Week 37 Character Reflect on your Understanding (Thinking), Caring About (Feeling), and Acting Upon (Behavior) in becoming a good example of positive character this year. A summary.
In every high school in Cobb County the Character Education program is supplemented with positive leadership development class called “Principled Thinking,” that focuses on development of positive student leadership skills created “to establish and promote character driven student leaders for the community and school. “

In schools and school district across the country there are variations to the ”Virtues- a –Month” framework or in this case the Cobb County’s “Virtues-a -Week” pattern. For example, many teachers have lessons and activities that encourage students to study and celebrate that month’s holidays or recognition days. For this month that would probably include Cinco De Mayo, National Teacher’s Day, Mother’s day, and Memorial Day.

Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., Character Education Resource Center, Director, University of San Diego —-deroche@sandiego.edu

QUESTION-ASKING: A Few Experiences

 

April 2017 Blog

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center

Department of Learning & Teaching, University of San Diego

                        QUESTION-ASKING: A Few Experiences

People will tell you that you have to know math to be a scientist, or physics or chemistry. They’re wrong….Sure, it helps, but there will be a time for that. What comes first is a question, and you are already there. It’s not nearly as involved as people make it out to be.—Hope Jahren (2006), Lab Girl, New York: Knopf, (p.4).

I am a question-asker. All you have to do is ask family members about my “warm and friendly” ways of asking them questions and my shock, at times, about their answers.
Those I have worked with over the years will tell you somewhat the same thing. Last month lunching with two colleagues, they both recalled my habit of saying, “Look just don’t bring me the problems and questions. Also bring me some answers and solutions.”                                                                                                                                        I have three opinions about question asking. One I call the “ownership” — what you ask, you own. The second is the “knowledge expansion” — the more you know, the better the questions; the better the questions the more you will learn about something (including behavior and emotions). The third is my “partnership opinion” — the more you engage others in asking questions and seeking solutions, the better the results—team questions lead to varying viewpoints and wide –ranging responses.

One of the strategies I have taught is called: “Give It Five.” When you have a problem, an issue, a dilemma, a crisis, and/or a conflict, something that requires analysis—lay your hand on it and GIF

 

I used this strategy when I was a teacher and principal. When a conflict or some other issue occurred between or among students, I would sit them down (now called a ‘time-out’) and ask them to GIF. I did this either by having the involved students write about it and share what they wrote (improved their thinking and writing skills).

Many times I suggested that they talk to one another (no cell phones or texting opportunities in those days.) They had to look at one another-eye to eye – and discuss the incident in a “kind and respectful way”(character development) using the fingers on one of their hands to guide the conversation of a GIF sheet I gave each of them.

            What happened? When did it happen? Where did it happen?

            Who was involved? Why did it happen?

            The palm: How? How are we/you going to solve this problem so that

            it doesn’t happen again?

I think you can see in this and similar strategies that the “exercise” helps students develop their empathic and social skills — active listening, compromise, self-control–as they deal with everyday life in and out of school.

I used GIF many times as a junior high school social studies (civics, current events, citizenship) teacher. To keep my students interested, motivated, and informed my textbook was the daily newspaper. I liked using newspapers so much, I wrote a book about it—Project Update: The Newspaper in the Elementary and Junior High School Classroom.

Generally, we would find articles, editorials, feature stories and “give them five.” After discussion, students would, in their own words, write a summary using the 5 W’s and the H—Who? What? When? Where? Why? & How?

One more strategy using the “hand” for teaching your students the character trait—Caring. Give each student a handout with a copy of a hand on it. Or give them a blank sheet of paper and have them trace their own hand.

Ask them: Think of five ways you could be more helpful to one another. Write out one suggestion on each finger of the hand on your paper using no more than 2-3 words per finger. Next, draw a symbol that is an example of caring on the palm of the hand. Have the students share their work and discuss their symbols. Create a bulletin board labeled CARING HANDS.

I need to make a comment here so that you will understand and appreciate that there is much more to questions asking then I have written about in this blog. You have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy and his work on levels of questions–

Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation

A.D. Fredericks writes: The six levels of questions are appropriate for all grade levels…. Perhaps most important, students tend to read and think based on the types of questions they anticipate receiving from the teacher. In other words, students will tend to approach any subject as a knowledge-based subject if they are presented with an overabundance of knowledge-level questions throughout a lesson. On the other hand, students will tend to approach a topic at higher levels of thinking if they are presented with an abundance of questions at higher levels of thinking. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Teacher © 2005 by Anthony D. Fredericks.

https://www.teachervision.com/teaching-methods/new-teacher/48445.html   TeacherVision.com