Writing a page a day on what works led Gene Bedley National Educator of the year to develop Value Based education as well train thousands of teachers throughout America. In his own words “The focus today is describing and complaining about the things that are not working rather than on what works. We need to focus on what we are becoming not what we are. Focus on what’s left not what we lost or are without.
A pioneer in promoting core ethical virtues as the cornerstone for all learning Gene Bedley has developed thousands of solutions and strategies for fostering respect and responsibility. Bedley has authored several books His Latest Character Lessons for Life 52 Character Development lessons.
Bedley is also one of the first contributing authors selected for the Chicken Soup for the soul books. His most recent success is his children’s book “Success is a fly in the eye of a frog. Co-written with fellow educator and friend Gary Greene.
His books carry a specific message Values give meaning to one’s purpose and mission in life. Now Bedley spends his days traveling throughout the country training teachers in what he calls Valued Centered Classrooms. “When you take care of respect in your school and home everything just works better”
While teaching ethics is a challenging job because of the ethical shortcuts in todays world the rewards of seeing an entire school system embrace the ideas to build an ethical community are powerful.
The Values in Action! Program which Bedley created by taking his page-a-day approach and writing down the simple ideas that made a significant impact ended up becoming a comprehensive Character Development Program including activities for promoting Best Results Thinking, Respect, Integrity, Compassion, Perseverance, Cooperation, and Initiative.
Currently Values in Action! Is being implemented in over 5000 schools throughout North America. The program has received several National Awards including The PTA National Award, Milken Family Foundation National Award. Paul Harris National Rotary Award and The Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge National Award.
While Gene is proud to receive the National Recognition it’s the letters he receives from different parts of the country from parents and teachers and students that excite him the most. “It’s great to see kids determined to find a way and not make excuses” “I’m most impressed with the kids learning the importance of making better choices.” One little 4 year old recently exclaimed “I know I know I m capable of making better choices on his way to the better choice chair” Kids are encouraged as are teachers to spend some time in the chairs each day to reflect on the importance of making responsible choices.
Gene believes if you teach kids a process like “What Happened? How are you going to fix it? Where do you think you’ll start?” everyone profits. Our classrooms have become problem solving centers with kids creating all kinds of solutions and strategies. You’ll observe in Values in Action! Classrooms students walking around with clipboards doing research on various topics including ethical dilemmas.
In other classrooms you see kids catching a Winnie the Pooh beanbag and answering questions like What would Winnie the Pooh do if there was a lonely deer in the hundred acre forest? Their answers are quickly applied to the lonely child in the classroom that no one seems to want to play with.
You’ll even observe kids evaluating the character’s character, trying to make a decision of the engine they need to be from studying the little engine that could.
Most of the schools in the network are encouraged to promote the respect theme for the first year of implementation. Since there are a total of 7 core ethical virtues children are exposed to all seven from kindergarten through 6th grade.
The middle schools and senior high schools focus on respect, responsibility, and healthy relationships.