There is no such thing as value-free education. There are a number of ways in
which we may unwittingly teach values to our students (both positive and
negative). One of the keys to effective character education is becoming
conscious of the
messages we convey:
Am I sometimes disrespectful toward students? If so, do I admit my
mistake and apologize?
Do I ever treat my fellow staff members with disrespect? Have students
observed this behavior?
How do I respond when I am treated disrespectfully? Have I modeled this
behavior–right or wrong–in front of my students?
How do I respond to my students’ parents? What messages have I conveyed
to them that they have shared with my students?
How do I respond when students disrespect school staff or each other?
Do I seize this opportunity to teach the
values we want our students to learn?
Are questions of right and wrong discussed in my classroom? If not, is
it possible that I am teaching the lesson
that values and character are unimportant?
Do I stress compliance with rules more than I stress the development of
Have my students observed me hoarding supplies for the future that
other teachers may need today? What does
this teach them about respect for the needs of others?
Am I a good listener? Do I model this skill for my students?
Do I show favoritism in the classroom? If so, what basis do I use for
establishing favorites, and what lesson
does this teach my students?
Do I address the individual needs of my students, or do I too
frequently focus on the class as a whole?
Do I exercise inappropriate power in the classroom, or do I empower my students?
Do I encourage dialogue on ethics, values and character?
Do I teach my students to focus on the far-reaching impact of actions
taken, or do I limit our dialogue to the
Do I encourage the active participation of my students in classroom
Am I a model of integrity?
As teachers, we must consistently model integrity for our students. Young
people are very astute, and they will be our greatest critics.
– Gene Bedley