Character education is an effort to connect students with the concept of morality. It’s also an expanding field of social research, with implications for pedagogy and public health. The research has evolved from generic descriptions to defining characteristics of behavior that can be measured and evaluated over time. These measurements include positive and negative morality, self-development, honesty and respect for teachers and parents.
During more than two decades of active study, researchers have found that character development can be taught effectively in the classroom and has the potential to radically change commonly held beliefs about education and youth development.
As many educators know, youth development, academic performance and character development are all interrelated. Positive Action works within these dynamics and teaches students how to think about themselves by encouraging healthy introspection.
This instruction comes at a critical time in students’ development. While these subjects are popular with philosophers and sociologists, it’s difficult to explain these interrelated topics in a manner that can be easily understood by students. The TAF Circle simplifies these concepts into a cycle that is easily grasped by students of all ages.
Students understand the concepts of a thought, an action and a feeling. Yet childhood development efforts fail to link these concepts in a logical way. While the interplay between these concepts may seem obvious to most adults, students often lack the analytical ability to discover these dynamics on their own.
Positive Action presents a logical method for students to think about these abstract concepts. The philosophy and the TAF Circle are simple distillations of basic human behavior.
The unit concepts are logical extensions of these topics and are presented in a coordinated manner. The lessons are systematically organized to teach students how to think about themselves and their engagement with the world around them.
When students learn how to treat themselves and others with respect and integrity, it creates a learning environment in which they feel safe and cared for. When students know school is a nourishing place for them, they are more likely to excel academically and eventually become successful, productive adults.
When character education is expanded through an entire school district, to families through parenting classes, and out into the community, it helps create a healthy place where students can live, learn, and grow.
Most importantly, educators must have confidence in the content they are teaching to their students. Positive Action is the only character education program in the nation to have garnered the top rating of the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in both the academic achievement and behavior domains.
This rigorous evaluation is comprehensive and highly selective. The WWC Positive Effects ratings mean that evaluators found “strong evidence of a positive effect with no overriding contrary evidence.” This accolade is a testament to Positive Action’s potential to guide students, families, schools and communities toward lifelong health, happiness, and productivity.