Char-Act-er: cultivating character

A vertically aligned set of experiences that puts students into experiences that allows them to practice and cultivate character

Photo of Garth Nichols
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Picture Grade 10 students on a three-day excursion in a national park. They are taking water samples, soil samples, and leaf samples to assess and explore the overall health of the park. They are also cleaning up the park, and reflecting on their own, personal actions that impact the environment.

On the second day:

- a group of students decide to canvas the other campers within the park on their actions;
- another group decides to explore the health of the fauna within the park;
- and another decides to explore the by-laws of the park and how they help and hinder the overall health of the park.

These students are recording their findings, reflecting on them, and then - with the support of Char-Act-er led resources (like mentors and teachers) - they are taking a stand on a issue. When students are asked to "Take a Stand" they are practicing their character. They are exploring what their character is through provocative prompts such as: "Should National Parks be Abolished", "Should National Parks be for Flora and Fauna only?" etc...

This is just one example of a Char-Act-er experience. In Grade 11, these students may opt to explore a Genetics excurion - visiting labs and hospitals, or build on their experience from the national park excursion and pursue a political excursion to explore the what and hows of National Parks. These would have their own call-to-action, and their own "Take a Stand" where students would:

- Reflect on their experience
- Explain their call to action
- Apply meta-cognitive skills
- Reflect in their portfolio on their "Take a Stand"

Char-Act-er builds experiences that build character. Students don't just listen to what character is from experts, or take part in pre-determined, community service experiences because they have to. These experiences are integrated into the curriculum, and into the lives of the students' interests and passion.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Erin Quinn

There is great opportunity in this experience for place-based education to occur. It could lean into indigenous ways of knowing and learning how to read and care for the local place.

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