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Helping Our Students Become Smart and Good Tom Lickona Center for the 4 th & 5 th Rs State University of New York at Cortland WORLD CONGRESS IN EDUCATION Valencia, Spain April 17 -19, 2008
Smart & Good Schools Initiative Integrating Excellence & Ethics for Success in School, Work, and Beyond www. cortland. edu/character The Smart & Good Schools Initiative is co-directed by Drs. Thomas Lickona, Center for the 4 th and 5 th Rs, and Matthew Davidson, Institute for Excellence and Ethics. To inquire about participating in the Smart & Good Schools Initiative, email [email protected] edu.
Through history, and across cultures, education has had two great goals: help students become smart help students become good. They need character for both.
THE MEASURED EFFECTIVENESS OF CHARACTER EDUCATION At all grade levels, students who have experienced quality character education outperform comparison groups not only on measures of social behavior but also on measures of academic performance. —Journal of Research in Character Education (2003)
The vision of a Smart & Good School is based on the 2005 study Smart & Good High Schools Tom Lickona & Matt Davidson 100 Promising Practices for Integrating Excellence & Ethics www. cortland. edu/character 5
Smart & Good Research Methodologies 1. A comprehensive literature review 2. Site visits (focus groups & observations) at 24 award-winning high schools 3. Guidance from: ü Experts Panel ü Student Leaders Panel
The concepts and findings that emerged from the Smart & Good study are now being used by schools K-12.
2 Foundational Questions 1. What is character? 2. What is character education? 8
Character has two major parts: performance character and moral character.
Performance Character Moral/Ethical Character Commitment to continuous improvement • • Respect • Responsibility to others • Goal setting • Love (Compassion) • Work ethic • Humility • Determination • Integrity • Self-confidence • Justice • Initiative Moral courage • Creativity •
Performance Character: Doing Our Best Work
You must discover what you are made for, and you must work indefatigably to achieve excellence in your field of endeavor. If you are called to be a street-sweeper, you should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music. —Martin Luther King, Jr.
The goal in life is to make the effort to do the best you are capable of doing—in marriage, at your job, in your community, for your country. Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your abilities. The effort is what counts in everything. —John Wooden, UCLA Basketball Coach
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Performance is the outcome (the grade, the honor or award, the achievement). Performance character consists of those qualities needed to pursue our personal best—whether the outcome is realized or not.
We asked high school students: ”What persons or experiences in high school have most influenced the development of your performance character? ”
The importance of being challenged: “The person who has most profoundly affected my performance character is my basketball coach. He had me play power forward, even though I am only 5’ 4”. When I became frustrated, he never let me give up. I never before had to do anything so far out of my comfort zone. ” —A High School Girl
Moral Character: Doing the Right Thing Moral character consists of the virtues needed for ethical behavior, positive relationships, and responsible citizenship. Moral character honors the interests of others, so that we do not violate moral values as we pursue our performance goals.
We asked high school students: ”What persons or experiences in high school have most influenced the development of your moral character? ”
“We are taught from the start that plagiarism and all forms of cheating are wrong, and that any kind of cruelty toward other students is not to be tolerated. We often have assemblies that discuss how to promote peace and justice in society. Graduation requirements include 100 hours of community service, but our school encourages us to do more. ” —A High School Girl
“There are two roads in life: a high road and a low road. The high road is harder, but it takes you somewhere worth going. The low road is easy, but it’s circular—you eventually find yourself back where you started. “Your life won’t get better—and you won’t get better—on the low road. ” —High School Science Teacher
A person of character embodies both performance character and moral character.
Without moral character, performance character easily runs amuck. You could become a courageous terrorist who blows up innocent people, an ingenious CEO who cooks the books, or a brilliant valedictorian who is only out for herself.
Without performance character, moral character is ineffective. You could be a person who has good intentions but can’t carry them out effectively. Performance character enables us to act on our moral values.
Only by developing performance character will schools: Promote academic achievement for all students foster an ethic of excellence, not just higher test scores develop scientific and entrepreneurial talent produce a competitive, creative workforce.
Only by developing moral character will schools: create safe learning environments prevent peer cruelty decrease discipline problems reduce cheating foster social & emotional skills develop ethical thinkers produce public-spirited citizens.
Performance character and moral character are defined in terms of 8 Strengths of Character, assets needed for a flourishing life.
THE WHOLE PERSON What are the Strengths of Character that make up the “whole person”?
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Lifelong learner and critical thinker Diligent and capable performer Socially and emotionally skilled person Ethical thinker Respectful and responsible moral agent Self-disciplined person who pursues a healthy lifestyle Contributing community member and democratic citizen Spiritual person engaged in crafting a life of noble purpose.
Where do the 8 Strengths of Character come from? Classical philosophy about living a meaningful and fulfilling life Cross-cultural wisdom Positive psychology’s focus on the assets needed for a flourishing life Our own grounded theory research.
1. Lifelong learner and critical thinker Approaches learning as a lifelong process Shows skills of critical analysis Takes seriously the perspectives of others Seeks credible evidence Integrates knowledge Generates alternative solutions Demonstrates intellectual humility (e. g. , willingness to admit error).
A Core Works Curriculum Core Works in literature, history, and the arts are selected by one independent school’s faculty using four criteria: 1. 2. 3. 4. Timelessness Centrality (involves important themes) Influence Originality (offers new vision)
“Our purpose is to teach the best that has been thought and said in the world. ”
Intellectual Character: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Get It (2002) —Ron Ritchhart
Media Literacy: Deconstructing Pornography 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. How does pornography affect our respect for the dignity of other people? Who are pornography’s victims? How does it affect our self-respect? What are some of the possible longterm consequences of viewing pornography on our sexual attitudes and behavior? How might pornography affect a marriage?
2. Diligent and capable performer Strives for excellence; gives best effort Demonstrates initiative Knows standards of quality and creates high-quality products; takes pride in work Sets personal goals and assesses progress Perseveres despite difficulty.
4 KEYS 1. A community that supports and challenges 2. Self-study (self-assessment and goal-setting) 3. Other-study (learning from positive and negative examples) 4. Public performance/presentation
An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students —Ron Berger’s work illustrates the use of the 4 KEYS.
Practices That Use the 4 KEYS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Work that inspires. (Community That Supports & Challenges) Models of excellence. (Other. Study) A culture of critique. (Community That Supports & Challenges) Multiple revisions. (Self-Study) Opportunities to present/display one’s work. (Public Performance)
The Culture of Critique Students regularly present their work to peers and the teacher for feedback, in order to heighten their responsibility for: doing their best work bringing out the best in each other.
Rules for the CULTURE OF CRITIQUE Be kind. Be specific. Be helpful. q q q
Steps in the Culture of Critique 1. 2. 3. Presenter: “I would especially like suggestions on. . . ” Positive feedback from the group and teacher. Constructive critique, often put as questions: “Would you consider. . . ? ” “Have you thought of. . . ? ”
Diligent and Capable Performer Involve students in meaningful learning experiences that challenge them to meet realworld standards.
A HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE RESEARCH CLASS “These kids are doing original research, not cookbook science. We’re teaching problem-posing, problem-solving, cause-and-effect thinking, and teamwork. ” —Science Teacher
3. Socially and emotionally skilled person Possesses a healthy selfconfidence and positive attitude Demonstrates basic courtesy Develops positive relationships Communicates effectively Works well with others Resolves conflicts fairly Has emotional intelligence, including the ability to understand manage one’s feelings.
Promising Practice: Develop and regularly renew a positive relationship with every student.
Promising Practice: Foster Positive Peer Relations.
THE DAILY FIVE 1. Who has good news? 2. Who would like to affirm/compliment someone else? 3. What is something in the past 24 hours that you are thankful for? 4. Laughter (rotate bringing in a joke) 5. Change seats; get to know your new neighbor (2 -minute interview). —Hal Urban
RESPECT SCALE 1. 2. 3. At the end of the day, each student gives himself a rating of 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 (high) on the Respect Scale. We have a class conversation: “Why did you give yourself that rating? ” We do not pass judgment. I ask, “How are you going to try to get better tomorrow? What strategies will you use? ” Other students may suggest strategies. —Usha Balamore
4. Ethical thinker Possesses moral discernment Has a well-formed conscience—including a feeling of obligation to do the right thing. Has a strong moral identity; moral character is central to “who I am. ” Has the moral skills to translate moral discernment, conscience, and identity into effective moral behavior.
Moral Discernment: How can we tell right from wrong? 1. Right actions affirm human dignity. 2. They promote the happiness and wellbeing of the individual. 3. They serve the common good. 4. They meet the test of reversibility. (Would I want this done to me? ) 5. They can be universalized. (Would I want all people to act in this way? )
ETHICAL DISCUSSIONS OF LITERATURE “Who was the most respectful character in the book? ” “Would the story have turned out differently if any character had shown more respect? ”
ETHICAL MINI-ESSAYS VIRTUE: WISDOM 1. Define “wisdom” in your own words. 2. Who is someone you know who possesses this virtue? Give an example of how that person shows wisdom. 3. What are the advantages of possessing this virtue? 4. How does this virtue affect others?
REFLECTING ON CHARACTER 1. What would you want a teacher to say about your character in a letter of reference? 2. How do you gain the trust of another person? How do you destroy it? 3. What are some of the consequences of being dishonest? 4. What are some of the rewards of being honest? —Hal Urban
Study LIVES OF CHARACTER. Challenge students to pursue their own character development. Draw lives of character from: ü Your academic discipline ü Psychological research (e. g. , Some Do Care) ü Current events (virtueinaction. org) ü Great films (Teach. With. Movies. com)
After presenting a man or woman of exemplary performance character and moral character, ask students: ü ü What can you observe or infer about this person as an ethical thinker? What evidence do you see of moral discernment, conscience, moral identity, and moral competence? What character strengths does this person possess that you would like to develop to a higher degree?
Great resource for discussing current events: Virtue in Action www. virtueinaction. org Bi-monthly on-line lessons Latest issue: Cyber-bullying
5. Respectful & Responsible Moral Agent, Committed to Consistent Moral Action Respects the rights and dignity of all persons Understands that respect includes the right of conscience to disagree respectfully Possesses a strong sense of responsibility to do what’s right Takes responsibility for mistakes Shows moral leadership.
Classroom Compact for Excellence Rules for Doing Our Best Work (PERFORMANCE CHARACTER) 1. BE PREPARED. 2. WORK HARD. 3. HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Rules for Treating Others with Respect & Care (MORAL CHARACTER) 1. TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WISH TO BE TREATED. 2. USE GOOD MANNERS. 3. HELP EACH OTHER.
ONE SCHOOL’S DISCIPLINE PROCESS 1. The referred student completes a form describing the incident from his/her point of view and the teacher’s. 2. The student relates his/her behavior to one the school’s 8 Essential Learner Behaviors (critical thinking, citizenship, problem-solving, etc. ). 3. The student discusses the completed form with the principal or asst. principal. 4. The student decides on a restitution. 5. The parent/guardian is notified.
6. Self-Disciplined Person Who Pursues a Healthy Lifestyle Demonstrates self-control Pursues physical, emotional, and mental health Makes responsible personal choices that contribute to ongoing self-development, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive future.
“ON THE LINE” 1. Mark a line across the classroom with 7 points. 1=Not True of Me; 7=Very true of me” 2. “Go and stand at the point on the line that best describes you in terms of the following statement” (5 -6 students at a time): “I take care of my health. I get enough sleep, eat right, and exercise. ” Follow up Q’s: q q q Why did you put yourself there? How does this compare to last year? Where do you want to be in the future?
Sexual Decision-Making We need to give young people a rational way of thinking about sex—one that appeals to their intelligence and that will ground them and make their decisions solid.
10 Emotional Dangers of Premature Sex Worry about pregnancy and STDs. Regret. Guilt. Loss of self-respect. Corruption of character. Difficulty trusting. Depression and suicide. Damaged or ruined relationships. Stunted personal development. Negative effects on marriage.
“I lost my virginity when I was 15. My boyfriend and I thought we loved each other. But once we began having sex, it completely destroyed any love we had. I felt he was no longer interested in spending time with me—he was interested in spending time with my body. ” —Amanda, a college student
Article with stories from the lives of teens: “ 10 Emotional Dangers of Premature Sexual Involvement” Fourth & Fifth Rs Newsletter, fall, 2007 (www. cortland. edu/character)
The Neglected Heart 1. What can we learn from these stories? 2. Why does sexual intimacy have emotional consequences? 3. Are these consequences often different for males and females? If so, why? 4. What is required in a relationship to maximize the likelihood that sexual intimacy will be emotionally safe and fulfilling?
7. Contributing Community Member and Democratic Citizen Contributes to family, classroom, school, and community Demonstrates civic virtues needed for participation in democratic processes Demonstrates awareness of interdependence and a sense of responsibility to all humanity.
A HURTING WORLD n n Nearly half the world’s population are poor. One in 6 lives in “extreme poverty”— the poverty that kills. They are chronically hungry, lack safe drinking water, cannot get health care or afford education. —Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty
Contributing Community Member and Democratic Citizen Promising Practices þ Engage students in service learning. þ Involve students in first-hand experiences of democracy. þ Resolve school conflicts democratically, with respect for differences of conscience.
Research Finding: Teens who are involved in service learning: Do better in school Are more likely to treat each other kindly and respond positively to cultural diversity.
An Award-Winning Service Learning Program: Service learning every Wednesday morning Quality control (supervision of field sites) Senior year global issues course Senior Project.
8. Spiritual Engaged in Crafting a Life of Noble Purpose Considers existential questions (e. g. , “What is happiness? ”, “What is the meaning of life? ”) Appreciates transcendent values (truth, beauty, goodness) Seeks a life of noble purpose Formulates life goals and ways to pursue them
I see so many people just going through the motions: get into a good school, so you can get into a good college, so you can get a good job, so you can get a better job, so you can get rich and die. —Recent High School Graduate
1. An Analysis of My Life Are you generally satisfied with what you have done so far in your life? Explain. 2. What obstacles, if any, have interfered with your personal growth? What can you do to overcome them? 3. What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your life thus far? 4. What goals have you planned for your future? What are you presently doing to pursue them? —John Perricone, Zen and the Art of Public School Teaching
100 GOALS 1. Write 100 goals you’d like to achieve in your life. 2. Divide them into categories (career, family, adventure, service, major accomplishments, etc. ) 3. Select your top 10 goals. 4. Write a paragraph on your #1 goal. —Hal Urban
2 nd Foundational Question: What is character education?
In a Smart & Good School, character education is the process of maximizing the development of performance character, moral character, and the 8 Strengths of Character within an Ethical Learning Community.
4 Groups Comprise the Ethical Learning Community (ELC): 1. Faculty and staff 2. Students 3. Parents 4. The wider community
All members of the ELC support and challenge each other to do their best work (performance character) and treat each other with respect and care (moral character).
The 6 Principles of the ELC: 1. Develop shared purpose and 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. identity. Align practices with desired outcomes and relevant research. Have a voice; take a stand. Take personal responsibility for continuous self-development. Practice collective responsibility. Grapple with the tough issues.
ELC PRINCIPLE 1: Develop shared purpose and identity. Promising Practice 1: Build a unified school culture around excellence and ethics through consistent high expectations for learning and behavior.
Most schools suffer from “loose coupling”—high levels of inconsistency in expectations and values. A Smart & Good School is characterized by tight coupling.
One way to achieve tight coupling: A School Touchstone— a “way” of doing our work and treating others.
THE PLACE WAY At Place School, we pursue excellence in scholarship and character. We celebrate and honor each other by being respectful, honest, kind, and fair. We give our best inside and outside the classroom. This is who we are, even when no one is watching.
THE ROOSEVELT WAY “There’s a way that students here are expected to act, and a way that they expected not to act. ” —High School Counselor
Constructing a School Touchstone: THE _______ WAY We show ________ by __________. [Last line: Motto statement]
ELC AUDIT To what extent does your school have a “way”—a touchstone or motto that serves as a standard of behavior and a common reference point? What is one step you could take toward developing or strengthening a school touchstone?
ELC PRINCIPLE 1: Develop shared purpose (cont. ) Develop an honor code. (see Smart & Good report, “The Ethical Learning Community, p. 46)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. I will be honest in all my actions. I will treat others the way I want to be treated. I will extend courtesy and kindness to all people. I will respect our school building and every individual’s personal property. I will take pride in our school programs. I will have the courage to report bullying, drugs, and weapons in our school. I will uphold this Honor Code and exhibit these behaviors when I represent our school off campus.
Develop shared purpose and identity (cont. ): Promising Practice: Create defining school traditions that express and strengthen the school’s commitment to excellence and ethics.
WELCOMING FRESHMEN: ONE SCHOOL’S TRADITION (“The Ethical Learning Community, ” p. 38)
ELC AUDIT To what extent does your school use important school traditions to foster a shared commitment to excellence (performance character) and ethics (moral character)? What is one step you might take to strengthen character-building traditions in your school?
ELC PRINCIPLE 1 (cont. ): Develop shared purpose and identity. Promising Practice: Make a character compact with parents.
A school’s sense of purpose must be shared by families. If it is not, its impact on students is significantly weakened. What is missing in many schools is an explicit compact—an agreement between the school and parents to support each other in upholding shared character expectations.
A CHARACTER COMPACT WITH PARENTS AROUND THE HONOR CODE (p. 39) Dear Parents, Lincoln High School, as you know, takes pride in its commitment to fostering both intellectual and moral excellence. . . _____________ I have read the Honor Code and discussed it with my child. I support the school’s effort to promote academic integrity and to hold students accountable to that standard. Signed: ____________
ELC PRINCIPLE 2: Align practices with desired outcomes and relevant research. Promising Practice: Challenge parents to align parenting practices with relevant research.
When teens are allowed to drink at home, they are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs outside the home AND are at risk to develop serious behavioral and health problems related to substance abuse. —A Parent’s Guide for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use www. thecommunityofconcern. org/book
ELC PRINCIPLE 3: Have a voice; take a stand.
Next to prisons, high schools are the least democratic institutions in our society. They are cursed by a tradition of hypocrisy— teaching and espousing democratic doctrine within the classroom, while the actual practice of democratic principles is largely nonexistent anywhere in the school. —Peggy Silva & Robert A. Mackin, Standards of Mind and Heart
On the importance of students’ having a voice: “For students, it is very important that their voice be heard. This would show students that administrators and teachers respect them, and then students would be more likely to show respect in return. ” —High School Girl
On the importance of students’ exercising their voice “Teens have to realize that they must stand up for what they believe in. Developing character means being an individual and upholding your convictions with honesty, confidence, and courage. Apathy is perhaps the greatest problem facing teens. ” —High School Boy
ELC Principle 3: Have a voice; take a stand. Promising practices: 1. 2. 3. 4. Develop student voice. Develop faculty and staff voice. Develop parent voice. Develop community voice.
Increasing Student Voice 1. 2. 3. 4. Develop student voice in the classroom (e. g. , call on students randomly; conduct class meetings). Annual Student Engagement Survey Schoolwide small-group discussions (“What can we do to improve our school? ”) Democratic schoolwide governance (representative or direct).
ELC PRINCIPLE 4 Take personal responsibility for continuous self-development.
Promising practice: Promote ongoing self-reflection on the quest for excellence and ethics. Example: Journal: What can you do to improve in each of your academic subjects? What keeps you from doing better?
One school, at the end of each day, asks all students to reflect: What did you do well today? What would you like to do better tomorrow?
Children develop character by what they see, what they hear, and what they are repeatedly led to do. —James Stenson
ELC PRINCIPLE 5 Practice collective responsibility for excellence and ethics.
ELC Principle 5: Practice collective responsibility for excellence and ethics. Promising practice: ü Create a school norm of collective responsibility and structures that institutionalize it.
School structures that foster collective responsibility: “Brother’s Keeper” Culture of critique Advisory groups Concern meetings
ADVISORY GROUPS Advisory has allowed my peers to challenge me to develop my character and live up to my personal standards of excellence. —A High School Girl
When they called the concern meeting, I was mad they were confronting me. One of them said, “You do have an attitude. You give teachers lip. They’re just trying to teach you. ” Afterwards I had time to think: “If all these people are saying this about me, maybe it’s true. ” I had to write a letter to my concern group about what I learned from the whole situation. In this school, if you don’t change, you’re going to get constantly confronted. This school is concerned. —High School Girl
ELC PRINCIPLE 6 Grapple with the tough issues—the elephants in your living room.
If I were head of my school, I would do more to try to eliminate cliques. Although our school was named a National School of Character, we suffer from this problem. Cliques segregate students and promote elitism. I would increase group projects that expose students to people outside their own circle of friends. —A High School Boy
The Professional Ethical Learning Community (PELC) is part of the ELC and is made up of all school staff. It leads the development of the ELC. (Ch. 4, Smart & Good)
Effective PELCs demonstrate a high level of collegiality.
“People here really care about and support each other. An experienced teacher will coach a new teacher, but it goes the other way as well. “As a new teacher, you feel immediately appreciated because people find out what you’re good at and want to learn from you. ” —High School Math Teacher
Research shows that as faculty collegiality increases, student achievement increases.
Creating a Professional Compact for Excellence 1. 2. At your table, choose a facilitator and a recorder. Develop a Professional Compact for Excellence—behavioral and participation guidelines for our adult Ethical Learning Community here today. 3. Each team member make a copy.
Professional Compact for Excellence Rules for Doing Our Best Work 1. (e. g. ) EVERYONE CONTRIBUTE. 2. 3. Rules for Treating Others with Respect & Care 1. (e. g. ) BUILD ON OTHERS’ IDEAS. 2. 3.
Increasing Faculty Voice 1. 2. 3. Give faculty a voice in setting the agenda for faculty meetings. Maximize participation in meetings (conduct meeting in a circle; do smallgroup sharing of a successful practice or current problem). Give faculty a voice in program and policy decisions, including character education.
Important Character Education Staff Decisions 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What classroom strategies will we use to develop our target virtues? What schoolwide strategies will we use? What structures (e. g. , multiple committees) will we use to share leadership of the practices we decide to implement? How will we measure our success and use data to guide program improvements? How will we seek the involvement of other ELC stakeholders (students and parents)?
Integrating Excellence & Ethics… For success in school work and beyond
Character is destiny. —Heraclitus 128