Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#30GoalsEDU: Support Character Development

Some people think that teaching is the easiest profession in the world. I mean .... we get "the book", teach our lesson and go home.... Right?
.....
Wrong!!!
Our profession has to do with communication. Getting to know so many different people, so many different characters.
So, what is our job?
Just teach someone a foreign language?
How do we influence the kids? I mean except for their parents and siblings, we are the people these kids spend time with.
Is our job to help with their character development?
Is it our job to teach them how to behave?
Well... yes and no actually.
When it comes to little kids everybody should help to "shape" their personality. Teach them manners, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad and that people have the power to make people sad or happy.
With teenagers, that's a totally different story. My students usually trust me with things they wouldn't tell their parents. And that is good from one point, because they do come and ask a grownup to help them.
The question is though.... I am a language teacher. Should I get involved in their character "shaping?
Should I be there for them as a parent? As a friend? Help them discover themselves as a personality?
Talk with them about various subjects like "Equality", "Kindness", "Justice", "Morale" ?

I do care about them and I do keep contact with them and I am always there when I am needed.
But should I do that?
I am NOT their parent. I am NOT their friend (Teachers are not usually friends, they are just teaching)
To tell the truth, I am being their friend. I do share things from my personal life with them - family, work, people. I do want them to feel close and not just see me as an "encyclopedia"
I do believe that they should be taught some more things but the language.
The advantage in my case is that I am a language teacher, so I can use the foreign language to actually talk about various situations.
Here are some very useful links on what is character and activities for Kids' development:

 http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/06/25/what-is-character-its-3-true-qualities-and-how-to-develop-it/

 http://www.pinterest.com/MelodyeReynolds/character-development-lesson-ideas/

 http://www.rootsofaction.com/developing-character-strengths-a-vital-goal-of-education-part-2/

I'd love to know what you people think on that and how you act!

3 comments:

Silvers said...

We should teach the whole person and we should teach beyond the subject - there is no doubt in my mind about that:))

Theodora Pap said...

Some people do not agree though!!! I would like to hear what they have to say!!

kryftina said...

We cannot ‘’just teach’’ anything, in my opinion. Our purpose as educators, our job (oh,I hate that word), is to bring the best out of each and every learner that comes to us. With everything that this process involves. I should point out that we might feel sometimes like their parent, friend or confidant, but we know we are not; and our learners know it as well. Being there for them in whichever situation needs addressing is a very different thing. If you’re looking for a definition, I’ll disappoint you, since I haven’t found one that accurately describes what it is we do. A lot depends on our approach, the way we do the teaching part. To me, the core element is rapport. And how will you get there, to the bench (or lesson) of ease and comfort, without sharing?
What is the point of learning a language, in our case, if not the communication?
I recall a stand-up routine by Eddie Izzard, taking the audience through his French lessons at school. He had learned the phrases ‘’la souris est sous la table’’ and ‘’le singe est sur ​​la branche’’ perfectly, but as he pointed out it was ‘’a page full of things which are difficult to get into conversation [...] just slip that in when you’re buying a ticket to Paris [...] and very difficult to get that (the second phrase) into conversation. Not a lot of jungle in France. Monkeys thin on the ground’’. That’s what we’re all about. Giving our students the means to be understood in context, to produce verbally what they have to share with the world.
Getting involved in our students’ ‘’character shaping’’ is inevitable and necessary. It’s a good thing when they come to you, to me, to any of us, with questions, with stories to share, with ideas to discuss. We can guide them, help them bring things forward, even if we have to become mediators of some description.
Sometimes I think that we’re doing things all wrong. Our lessons should start on the grandparents, then the parents and finally the children, especially in Greece. But that’s a different subject altogether.