Friday, October 23, 2009

The What and The How: From What is a House? To the Last Brick

Over the last few weeks, I have been dedicating posts to an explanation of the paths to the Honor Code: responsibility, respect, honesty, effort, and outreach. If we can combine these characteristics together we become selfless servants demonstrating moral courage and commitment.

These posts have been the WHAT of the Honor Code. I plan on dedicating the next few weeks to posts which deal with the HOW we work with our students to ingrain these five honor characteristics into their core.

The imagery of paths to Honor is good, but other metaphors can capture the essence of honor at Calvert as well. If we think of character education in terms of building a house, we have covered the basic facts of what a house this case our House of Honor, which is made up of the responsibility room, honesty room, respect room, commitment room, and effort room. The next step is how do we build our House of Honor?

I will begin with a summary of a number of faculty meetings which, when distilled and codified, have provided the foundation, scaffolding, and brick and mortar to build our House of Honor at Calvert.

Curriculum integration is the conceptual foundation for our school-wide approach to character education.

The six E's (taken from the article: "Talking About Ethics and Character Education"),

  • Embedded - in every class

  • Empowered - we can do this!

  • Effective - it works

  • Extended - beyond our halls

  • Engaged - topics are relevant

  • Evaluative - is the program working?
provide the scaffolding which supports and prepares faculty when working to build a House of Honor in each of our students.

Finally, as faculty we work to seize moments and teach to our honor code. This seizing of the moment provides the brick and mortar of the House of Honor at Calvert. We work each day to seize the moments through (paraphrased from the article "Teachable Moments for Social Justice")

  • Building up knowledge in order to be more aware of when teachable moments pop up

  • Developing a 'classroom community' that allows for productive responses

  • Developing responses for both reactive and proactive situations

  • Personally committing to maintain a 'democratic, inclusive school'

The work we do each day with our students related to character education is hugely important. The development of honor is an integral part of our mission. As such, it is important that we, as an institution, have a clear idea of WHAT honor is and HOW we can help our students learn it.

Over the next few weeks, posts will flesh out the basic tenets put forth above with concrete examples and strategies.

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