Middle school students who used a successful character education curriculum

What Makes a Successful Character Education Curriculum

I don’t think anyone sets out to do or create anything without the goal of success, and that’s why it was my mission to create a successful character education curriculum. I had completely exposed myself and felt completely vulnerable after publishing my memoir, but it was completely worth it once I learned just how much young people enjoyed reading it. Developing a curriculum at the request of educators was an honor and an important responsibility.

So again, I did my research. I needed to understand what was necessary for a successful character education curriculum?

Successful Character Education curriculum

A successful character education curriculum is based on the six pillars of character education. It also considers the eleven principles of character development. It addresses several areas:

  •       A definition of character education
  •       Outlines the outcomes and measures of success. 
  •       Holistic approach to character development involving students, the school environment, parents and the community
  •       Lastly, a success character education curriculum builds in assessment of progress and success.

A successful character education curriculum has 3 elements:

  •       The content
  •       The context
  •       The application
  1. The content

What is actually in the curriculum, and in this case, the workbooks? When developing the content, I had to: 

  •       Consider each pillar of character education on its own.
  •       Define each pillar and explain what it means
  •       Develop the tools and activities to help reinforce the message
  •       Provide reference materials to support the program

I carefully considered the pillars and used examples from the text, my memoir, to craft discussion questions, individual work, journal prompts and activities to teach various character education lessons.

  1. The Context

What are the circumstances that form the various settings. For context, I had to consider:

  •       Different situations where the pillars are expressed – at work, home, community, school
  •       Provide positive examples for each pillar in action
  •       Discuss the negative examples and the possible responses

My memoir follows my life from an insecure girl to a successful woman. It details my feelings, thoughts, and actions in various homes including one that I owned, in schools from elementary through graduate school, at work from high school jobs to my corporate career, and in various roles in the community. The workbook helps students explore both positive and negative aspects of my choices to teach various principles of character education.

  1. The Application

One of the most exciting aspects of the S.O. What! Literacy, Life Skills, and Character Education curriculum is the ease and flexibility of implementing the program. The curriculum was designed to fit various classes, classroom sizes, learning and teaching styles, and personal application for the educator to share with students. Each of the following aspects for application in a successful character education curriculum are utilized in the workbooks. 

  •       Ask the students to draw conclusions from the examples provided
  •       Give scenarios which help the students identify each pillar, what they mean and how things could have gone differently
  •       cDebrief and discuss the application in real-world situations
  •       Help the students makes the connections between the theory and practice
  •     Where possible, involve the parents in reinforcing what the students learn in school.