See Jane build Character. Build Jane. Build.

I think the best way to build character is to model what we mean when we say character. Define it. Live it. Teach it.

Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos
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As a community of educators: Let's define what character means, then identify what ideal behaviors would show evidence of someone having "true character"? what are the character ideals we should all strive for?

As teachers, how might we model that behavior in the classroom and show students what character looks like. I like the idea of teachers coming together and tackling this complex definition together ---what character means to one teacher may mean something completely different to another. Working through these definitions and providing concrete examples of what it looks like  will help students live out the character themselves.

I chose the "see Jane build character" image because I think there is something very powerful around students actually seeing character in action.

Is it displaying a good work ethic while volunteering a non-profit? being honest while taking a test? standing up to a bully?

I don't think some students lack character because they're being apathetic or defiant---it could be because they just don't know what it looks like or don't see "character" explicitly enough in the classroom. 

Can we design a (program, event, experience) where school leaders and educators define character, create concrete examples of character, spotlight models of what character looks like, support students striving for character and recognize students who show evidence of true character. 


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Photo of Erin Quinn
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This is such a good point - often we as educators assume we are all on the same page when it comes to something like this, and find out we're really not. A while ago, my admin asked me to lead some PD at our school about school culture - there were rumblings amongst staff about things like inconsistencies with staff in enforcing rules like no hats or dress code violations. So I lead them through a design challenge, where we used design thinking strategies to help us define what a good school culture would look like, sound like, feel like. It was super interesting to notice what bothered some teachers but not others. This is so difficult because it means such different things to each person! I wonder if the nine character strengths might help in this regard, because it gives school staff something to hang their hat on.