he Power of Character Education
Jun 06 2023

The Power of Character Education: Instilling Values for a Brighter Future

Positive Action Team
Discover the importance of Character Education and its positive effects on children. Learn how to incorporate it into their daily lives and more.

What if we could tell you that you can empower your students to change the world?

Imagine educating the next world-changing innovator or revolutionary by teaching them skills and traits that will help them become successful, kind, and responsible members of society.

Character Education has become an increasingly relevant topic in today's world, as parents and educators recognize the importance of instilling strong values in young people. 

At its core, Character Education goes beyond academic learning to focus on building character, integrity, and empathy in children.

There are many reasons why Character Education is crucial for future generations.

For one, it helps students develop a sense of purpose and direction in life. By learning important values such as respect, honesty, and responsibility, children can gain confidence in themselves and their abilities to do anything they set their minds to. 

As we look to the future, it's clear that Character Education will play an important role in shaping the next generation of leaders and citizens. It's up to us as educators to prioritize its importance and make it a fundamental part of our educational and societal systems. 

Today, we're going to look into the different aspects of Character Education and how they can contribute to a brighter future for students. We’re also going to learn:

  • The importance of Character Education in shaping the moral development of children
  • Strategies and methods for teaching moral understanding, moral behavior, empathy, and social skills
  • The benefits of Character Education, including academic achievement, higher self-esteem, resilience, and better social skills

Without further delay, let’s look into the wondrous power of Character Education and its potential to impact the lives of future generations.

What Is Character Education?

Simply put, Character Education is an approach to learning that focuses on helping students to develop strong moral and ethical values, such as honesty, empathy, and responsibility, that are necessary for student success in life and school.

To illustrate, let's say you want to teach your students how they can improve communication and collaboration in the classroom. So, you implement a Character Education Curriculum that teaches students how to treat each other with respect and kindness.

When your students communicate respectfully with each other, they are more likely to feel heard and valued and are more willing to work together to achieve common goals.

Positive Action offers Character Education Programs for Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, and High School levels, so your students can start practicing positive actions from an early age.

The main focus of Positive Action’s Program and Curriculums is the philosophy that we feel good about ourselves when we do positive actions.

While this Character Education concept might be easy for adults to internalize, it’s not as easy for younger minds to connect.

This is why we came up with the Thoughts-Actions-Feelings Circle (TAF) to illustrate how these concepts work in real life. 

The TAF circle follows the simple philosophy that our thoughts lead to actions and those actions lead to feelings about ourselves which in turn lead to more thoughts.

Here is a brief explainer of how the circle works:

It paves the way for a healthy learning environment where students are equipped with the emotional intelligence needed to deal with challenges in a rational manner. 

By implementing our research-based curriculums in your school, you are inspiring a new generation of strong-minded leaders and innovators.

The Positive Action Curriculum consists of six units that teach students from Grades K to 12 how to develop a positive self-concept, maintain good health and wellness, manage resources, and develop positive relationships. Here are four of our main programs:

1 - Pre-K Curriculum & Pre-Kindergarten Program

Positive Action’s Pre-K Kit

The Pre-K Kit revolves around an ongoing story about two hedgehogs, Squeak and Mimi, who go on adventures and find themselves in situations that are familiar to children. 

It helps children develop crucial life skills such as responsibility, empathy, and respect through rhymes, cheers, music, and poems with hand movements made by the puppets of Squeak and Mimi. Children learn and memorize positive action concepts in a fun and engaging way.

The program allows you to instill the aforementioned Character Education values in students that are good for their bodies, brains, resources, and relationships.

It is advisable to teach children to practice positive actions at a young age because it will help them in the future to know their purpose in life and identify what good things they need to do for others in society. 

We offer a free sample lesson for this kit to give you a feel of what you can expect from this program.

2 - Elementary Program

Positive Action’s Grade 5 Kit

The Elementary School Curriculum contains evidence-based concepts designed to help students develop the skills that are necessary to form healthy relationships, manage their emotions, and make responsible choices.

For instance, in one of the units of the Grade 5 Kit, you can teach your students how they might overcome fear and lack of confidence by introducing them to a story of a brave orphan boy, Jeremy.

When Jeremy’s parents passed away, he had to go and live with his uncle on a ranch.

The story narrates how he used positive actions to adjust to his new life and manage his emotions.

When your students are faced with a difficult situation, such as a new job or a move to a new city, they can draw on the lessons learned from Jeremy's story to manage their fear and lack of confidence positively.

3 - Middle School

Positive Action’s Grade 6 Kit

Experience is the best teacher.

This is why we integrated Character Education principles throughout our middle school curriculums and programs. The programs are carefully curated to teach students important life values such as the importance of balancing their interests and responsibilities.

For example, if you’re a grade 6 teacher who wants to help an athletic student who is usually faced with the conundrum of whether they should focus on their studies or enhance their sports ability, you can use our Grade 6 Kit to show them how they can do it.

The kit features a unit where your students will meet twin brothers Stan and Scott, who struggle with a similar situation and how they use Character Education principles such as time management to make everything work.

By learning about the experiences of Stan and Scott, they can understand the importance of finding a healthy balance and managing their time effectively.

Action: Encourage students to create a personalized schedule that includes time for both academics and hobbies.

4 - High School Kits

It’s important for high school students to be taught Character Education because this is a critical period in their lives where they are developing their sense of identity, their values, and their attitudes toward themselves and others. 

Character Education can help them navigate this process by providing them with guidance and support in developing the skills and traits that will enable them to lead fulfilling lives.

With this in mind, we have curated four High School Kits to help make the transition into adulthood as smooth as possible using Character Education values such as time management and cooperation.

For example, our High School Kit 2 features a 44-act “Lives on the Line” play in which students role-play characters to learn about themselves by doing positive actions in scenes from the play.

This engaging and educative play involves a virtual reality survivor game in which eight very different teen characters must cooperate to achieve group challenges issued by Dr. Pos, a world-renowned scientist, and win $100,000 each to pursue a lifetime goal. 

One of the units of the play teaches your students about the importance of honesty through something called the "truth stone" which reveals how the lack of honesty caused problems for the characters in the play. 

A student can apply this lesson by being truthful and transparent in their interactions with others, admitting their mistakes, and taking responsibility for their actions. 

As a result, in the future, your students will become reliable and trustworthy individuals who practice positive actions at every turn in life.

Why This Matters: Character Education at high school helps shape students' identities and prepares them for future success.

The Benefits of Character Education

Children are naturally curious creatures who not only learn things in school but also from their experiences and interactions with the world. 

So, it’s crucial that you use Character Education to integrate positive thoughts into their minds that lead them to practice positive actions which in turn lead to positive feelings.

During their formative years, as they develop their sense of self, values, and attitudes toward others, your students can benefit greatly from understanding the importance of Character Education values such as empathy, responsibility, and self-development.

It can help them to build a strong foundation of ethical and social skills that will enable them to navigate the challenges of growing up and becoming responsible, compassionate members of their communities.

The following table breaks down the benefits of Character Education and how they can impact your students' lives:

Improved academic performanceStudents who participate in Character Education programs have been found to have higher grades, better attendance rates, and are more likely to pursue higher educationHigher GPAs, better test scores, and increased college enrollment
Prevention of negative behaviorsCharacter Education plays a crucial role in conflict resolution and preventing negative behaviors such as bullying by promoting empathy development, respect, and responsibilityReduced incidents of bullying, a safer and more peaceful school environment
Development of emotional intelligence and empathyStudents learn to recognize and manage their own emotions while also building the skills to understand and relate to othersBy developing these skills, students are better equipped to navigate complex social situations and form positive relationships with othersImproved social skills, greater emotional awareness, better relationships with peers and adults

Positive Action, at its core, teaches the philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you do positive actions and there is always a positive way to do everything.

Our evidence-based Character Education programs are a comprehensive curriculum that provides teachers with the tools and resources they need to help students develop essential life skills and positive character traits to help them thrive for the rest of their lives.

As a matter of fact, we are the only Character Education program in the nation that has garnered the top rating of the U.S. Department of Education, What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in both the academic achievement and behavior domains.

By using this program, teachers can create a positive learning environment that fosters respect, responsibility, and self-esteem in their students.

Bonus Tip: Incorporate peer-to-peer feedback to help students gain a better understanding of how their actions impact others.

Success Stories Showing Character Education in Action

Character Education is not a new concept, and various programs have been developed around the world to instill values and promote ethical conduct among children and youth.

These programs aim to cultivate positive character traits in students such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship, which are important for personal growth and societal well-being.

Here are two success stories from students who benefited from Positive Action’s Character Education programs:

A Positive Action Sumo

Before his school started using Positive Action’s Character Education program, Jason G. was struggling academically and emotionally. He was constantly getting into trouble and felt disconnected from school.

However, after he enrolled in the program, he learned how to manage his emotions and make positive choices which helped him become a leader for other students.

The program taught him responsible decision-making and created a healthy learning environment where he developed stronger relationships with his teachers and peers, which helped him feel more connected to the school.

The program had a profound effect on Jason’s life because he learned skills that he could apply not only in school but also in his personal life. He became more confident, responsible, and motivated.

Jason G. was a graduation speaker for his sixth-grade class in Lemon Grove, California and he referred to himself as the Positive Action sumo that other students looked up to.

...By sixth grade, I was the Positive Action Sumo and felt like the little ones looked up to me. I took the lead in different activities like reading groups and motivating my class at PE.

New York Middle School Students Gain Confidence

After completing the implementation of our evidence-based Character Education program with middle school students, a social services organization in New York couldn't wait to share feedback with us that they received from a school principal and health teachers. 

They reported that students enjoyed Positive Action so much that they broke out of their shells and had the opportunity to express their feelings.

Also, they noticed that the students were more willing to interact, volunteer, and read out loud which resulted in increased confidence.

Lastly, students enjoyed the role plays and perception activities that taught them relaxation techniques that helped them to analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

Controversies Surrounding Character Education

One of the biggest controversies surrounding Character Education according to research conducted by the Institute of Education Sciences is that it is criticized for didacticism and for deemphasizing reflection and moral judgment. 

Simply put, Didacticism refers to a philosophy that emphasizes instructional and informative qualities in a subject matter. 

Character Education can sometimes come across as didactic if it is presented in a way that is overly preachy or moralistic. 

That is why it is important not to approach this learning mechanism by focusing on dictating what is right and wrong without engaging students in the learning process. 

Positive Action understands that simply dictating morality concepts to students is not enough and they need real-world examples that will resonate with them for a long time. 

Our programs and curriculums accomplish this by teaching students how to become responsible, self-disciplined, and productive individuals who contribute positively to society using hands-on activities that engage their minds.

For example, our Grade 7 Kit helps you teach students perseverance, self-management, and self-reflection. 

As you can imagine, these concepts can be a bit hard to dictate so you educate your students on them through the story of George Mallory, who nearly became the first man to climb Mount Everest. 

As a result, they learn about the importance of preparing carefully and resisting those who say something is impossible in a phenomenal and memorable story that they can refer back to in the future when they need the strength to get through something “impossible”.

Instill a Moral Compass in the Next Generation

teacher illustrating Character Education

Character Education is an approach that emphasizes teaching moral and ethical values, such as honesty, responsibility, respect, and empathy, as well as promoting good citizenship in children. 

It has the power to teach students essential and critical life skills that helps them develop a strong moral compass and a sense of personal integrity, which will guide their decision-making and behavior throughout their lives.

Since 1982, Positive Action Programs have been used in all 50 states and internationally, reaching over 25,000 schools, community-based organizations, and other sites. 

The curriculum has strengthened the relationships between staff and youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Missouri: 

Members have worked hard to bring a positive environment to the club as a whole. One member has struggled with her self image and battled suicidal thoughts. Being actively engaged in the Positive Action programming helped to build a relationship with that staff and help her feel comfortable enough to talk to the staff and ask for help.

It has helped over eight million students learn common attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are important for them to have as responsible citizens through educating them on Character Education values.

We offer value-packed, research-based curriculums and programs that provide students with a model from which they can understand the complex concept of morality through open discussion and easy-to-understand examples.

We offer curriculums on a wide variety of subjects. These include kits on:

Get in touch with us via email at info@positiveaction.net to schedule an overview webinar where we will cover content, program model, kits, lessons, and research, and address any questions you may have.