Character education in many primary schools bores children. It affects them in how the freshman story affected me and my college friends. We swore that no one could make history more boring than our professor did. On special occasions, however, the professor changed gears. He employed a teaching method that went from bland to thrilling in an instant. The same method can turn character education into a subject of excitement for young children. Indeed, character education teachers can make children ask for more by regularly using the method that our college professor reserved for special occasions.
Teachers can easily turn today’s blah into tomorrow’s bling.
Character education lesson plans often begin with our college history professor’s regular, blah teaching method.
The teacher speaks. In this case, the teacher talks about character education. Teachers take free character education lesson plans wherever they can find them and follow instructions like these found on the Internet:
· Talk about what respect sounds like.
· Talk to students about the aspect of respect.
· Talk about respectful facial expressions
· Talk to them about the tone of voice that shows respect.
· Talk to students about respectful body language.
Character education teachers talk and talk and talk. As they speak, young children react as we regularly did in college history class. They assume bored positions, wishing the subject didn’t exist.
Most young children, like many college freshmen, have not yet developed the skills necessary to learn with the talking teacher method. They didn’t learn to walk by letting their mom talk to them about how she walks. They didn’t learn to talk by asking their father to explain what talking sounds like. Even talking didn’t potty train them. However, character education lesson plans push the teacher to talk – and talk – and talk.
“After explaining,” continue the character education lesson plans as above, “discuss respect with your students.”
The teacher argues. Even our university professor tried it. After we talked about history, he tried to engage us in a discussion. Many of us, awakened from conversation-induced naps, were neither ready nor able to participate in the discussion.
Three to eight year olds will no longer be ready to discuss character education after the teacher’s talk. Did they learn to walk, talk and eat by discussing them with their parents? No. Despite this, character education lesson plans do push the teacher to discuss – and discuss – and discuss.
Such an approach is boring for any age. It’s blah, and nobody likes blah character education.
Blings of tomorrow
Character education lesson plans can be changed overnight if teachers so desire. If you are a character education teacher and truly care about your students, you can make this change happen. As?
Throw in our history professor’s “special occasion” method and blah turns to bling. The story catches the light, shines and becomes desirable.
What method can bring about such a transformation? What secret weapon made history exciting on special occasions?
· Did he show a video? No. He could have, but historical videos can be just as boring as history lessons.
· Did you ask us to interpret historical moments? No. We were bored with historical figures as she presented them, and we would have no heart for RPGs.
Our college professor used a storybook.
Imagine that. Our history teacher would read from a storybook on special occasions. He didn’t take just any book and try to extract the story from it. He used a specially written book to express an accurate story in an easy to digest format. The book was an ambrosia to students who saw history as a dull and lifeless subject. We loved stories like the one about Columbus that started like this.
“On September 9, 1492, when the last land fell below the horizon, Christopher Columbus began keeping two logs. One log, which he kept secret, was a true calculation of his course and distance. The other was a forged account of the ship position written so the crew won’t be afraid to sail so far from land.” Source: Samuel E. Morison, Christopher Columbus (Boston: Mentor, 1955), p. 36.
We enthused about story when it was packaged in story format – and character education enthuses young children when it is packaged in specially written stories.
Stories have long been considered a proven technique for presenting information. The technique has proved particularly good and desirable for use with young children. Stories help them learn — and remember — valuable information.
Visit a famous bookseller on the Internet, type the word “potty” and what do you find? You find dozens of books that use stories to teach babies how to use the bathroom and graduate from diapers. Search for books on “brushing your teeth” and get similar results. Type “swimming” and a little duck named Stewie will teach them about water safety.
Stories written for the express purpose of teaching a specific topic (written specifically) use a method that has been used since ancient times – because it works!
The education of character that excites children is based on books. Books allow children to filter stories through their imaginations and identify with characters while learning high moral values. Books make character education more desirable and more memorable than any other vehicle the teacher can use.