The Rationale: Addressing the needs of the Affective Domain
School communities are a microcosm of the larger macro community, the society in which we all live. Humankind has long recognized that we must establish parameters that enable us to live together harmoniously (laws, rules, & regulations). Schools must do the same. In a democratic society these parameters of accepted behavior define the essence of good citizenship. In essence, if you abide by and promote these expectations, these laws, you are considered a person of integrity, a person likely to contribute to the common good. Again, this expectation and this definition of good citizenship applies to school communities, as well.
Highly effective schools understand that any departure in behavior by any member of the school community must be addressed as an opportunity to redress that behavior by using it as a teaching moment. This approach is exactly what we expect our teachers to do in the classroom, that is, seize the focus of study in each class as an opportunity to further student understanding and appreciation of the subject of that lesson. This approach is embedded in highly effective instruction in the cognitive domain. Quite simply, it is what great teachers do!
Unfortunately, far too many schools have not transferred this approach to the affective domain, the social emotional development of the child, particularly with respect to student conduct, which does not reflect the expectations and the rules of said school. Again, simply stated, action that violates the way we do things here! The recidivism of student misbehavior in this environment is extremely high.
It is only when we seize these behaviors as teaching moments, as opportunities to advance the understanding and appreciation of each child with respect to the need for these community norms, will we truly make a constructive contribution to the child’s life. When this approach becomes our modus operandi, we are then focusing not on the behavior itself rather, we are advancing student citizenship.
This approach requires that all members of the school staff embrace and advance this approach and understand that they must seize these opportunities as teaching moments, as real opportunities to make a constructive difference in the life of the child. In essence, for some teachers and administrators, it requires a new approach to classroom management and to the greater good of the school.
As it does in the cognitive realm, in the affective realm some students will take a longer and more sustained effort by themselves and by staff to truly understand and to manifest the accepted norms of being a good school citizen.
At the heart of all successful schools is a healthy, vibrant culture that embraces this approach to advance the personal integrity of each member of the community, staff, as well as students. The foundation for this work is character education. The core principles are embedded in a code of conduct that delineates the core values of the school. These five core values include respect, honesty, caring, compassion, and responsibility. These values are advanced through common reads, by integration throughout the educational program, and by modeling. At LPS we are dedicated to this work, to applying the same intense focus to the affective needs of our students that we bring to their cognitive needs.
Effects of Character/Citizenship Education
Learning Prep School is committed to maintaining a supportive and orderly school environment in which students may receive and staff may deliver a quality education without disruption or interference and in which students may develop as ethical, responsible and involved citizens.
Learning Prep School believes that each member of the school community should take responsibility for his/her own behavior. To that end, the school recognizes the need to model and teach ethical and responsible behavior, to define unacceptable student conduct and its consequences, and ensure that discipline is administered appropriately.
Community Core Values
With rights come responsibilities. Members of the school community are expected to demonstrate ethical and responsible behavior consistent with its core values. Such conduct is fundamental to a supportive, safe, and orderly school environment and a civil society.
Learning Prep School has established five core values:
RESPECT - A person who is respectful of oneself, others and the environment.
HONESTY - A person who is honest in all endeavors.
COURAGE - A person who is courageous in the face of ethical challenges.
COMPASSION - A person who is compassionate.
RESPONSIBILITY - A person who is responsible as an individual and as a member of a community.
Characteristics of successful Character Education Programs
Character education is based on the premise that all teachers are character educators and challenges schools to maximize this learning opportunity. To be effective, character education programs need broad-based support from educators, parents, boards, business leaders and community members. Character education needs to be in the woodwork!
Successful Character Education Programs: