R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me! This month's Class Ideas goes indepth on this important cornerstone of any school's values education program. Respect for others starts with respect for oneself. Australian educator David Koutsoukis is on hand to tell us how to help kids learn to be kind to themselves as a foundation for being kind to others. Also just a click away are downloadable activity pages from Didax's brand new Respect series and Internet links to some truly informative values education resources.
We hope you enjoy this issue and find it useful in bringing the core value of respect into your classroom and home.
?Who wants to live a happy life?? I ask, as a sea of hands stretch toward the sky.
?Who wants to be successful?? I continue.
?Me! Me!? yell a group of kids from the back of the room.
?So, who?d like to know how to become happy and successful?? I ask.
?Me!? replies the crowd with enthusiasm.
?All right then, let me share with you the secret to becoming happy and successful. Put your hands in the air like this ? with six fingers pointing upwards. These fingers represent the six things you need to do in order to be happy and successful in life. These six things give you a ?recipe for life? and act as guidelines to help you make good decisions.
?The ?law of attraction? says that ?whatever you are thinking and feeling, plus your actions, is creating your future.? The ?Six Kinds of Best? will help you think, feel, and act in a positive way, and, in turn, will help create a positive future for you!?
This is how I start my motivational presentation for kids entitled ?Make the ?Six Kinds of Best? Your Personal Quest!?
The ?Six Kinds of Best?
Over my twenty years of work in schools, both as a teacher and education consultant, one conspicuous observation has been that students who achieve high marks have a strong internal constitution. In other words, they know what?s important to them and they stick to their ?internal rules? (for the most part). On the other hand, kids who struggle with school and life lack this internal compass and, consequently, their behavior is all over the place. This internal compass is, of course, our values.
A great number of our children receive a good values foundation at home. But with the busyness of life these days, many children don?t receive the values inculcation they need. The ?Six Kinds of Best? provides a simple framework to help teachers and parents articulate what good values are and give students signposts to point them in the right direction when they get to ?crossroads? moments in their lives?times when they need to make important decisions.
By teaching the ?Six Kinds of Best,? we are giving our children a simple, consistent, and meaningful message that will help them remember what they need to do to become happy and successful individuals.
The ?Six Kinds of Best? are:
Be kind to yourself.
Be kind to others.
Be kind to the environment.
Be the learning kind.
Be the achieving kind.
Be the community kind.
This article focuses on the first kind of best: Be kind to yourself.
Developing Student Self-Esteem and Resiliency
Being kind to yourself is about developing self-esteem and resiliency. It is no coincidence that this is the first kind of best. Without self-esteem and resiliency, it is very difficult to get children thinking about being kind to others or the environment, or to be concerned about achievement and learning or about being a positive member of the community.
Research shows that self-esteem in children predicates success in later life. A study by the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance found clear evidence that students with high self-esteem at the age of ten would earn more money in later life than those with higher academic abilities. (Not that money is everything!) Basically, it found that children with a high level of self-esteem do much better in later life than those with low self-esteem.
So, how do we teach self-esteem and resiliency? With a lot of patience and persistence?and with some useful tools. Here are a few ideas to help you teach your children how to be kind to themselves.
Some Key Pointers
Encourage your students to:
Be proud of their uniqueness
Develop a sense of identity
Know their strengths and work on their weaknesses
Take time to relax
Minimize physical risks
Keep learning and growing
Strive for success
Love and value the love of others
Develop a circle of quality friends
Stand up for themselves
Make good choices
Forgive themselves if they make mistakes
Have some fun
Be proud of the things they say and do.
Five Ways to Help Teach Children to Be Kind to Themselves
Articulate what being kind to yourself means. See the key pointers on the previous page. Put up a poster to remind students.
Use ?Six Kinds of Best? language. For example: If someone is putting themselves down, say to them, ?Come on, Caitlin, be kind to yourself.? Or if a student gets ?out? in a game and doesn?t get upset, say, ?Well done, Max, that?s being kind to yourself!?
Catch children being kind to themselves. Give them an ?I am kind to myself? sticker or certificate. Better still, ask children to praise each other when they see good examples of being kind to oneself.
Use an individual or class progress chart to reinforce examples of good self-esteem and resiliency.
Create a ?Be Kind to Yourself? class display.
Ten Indicators of Good Self-Esteem and Resiliency
Children with good self-esteem and resiliency will generally:
Have a positive outlook and use positive language
Compliment others and won?t use putdowns
Downplay and accept mistakes or losses in games
Try new things
Tend not to have outbursts of anger
Recognize and acknowledge their strengths without bragging
Believe that their limitations can be improved upon
Have confidence, but be humble.
Why not help your children become the best they can be by giving them the "Six Kinds of Best"?
Didax's new Respect series takes a purposeful approach to values instruction, embracing current pedagogy, the most up-to-date research, and effective conflict resolution models. Use these sample activity pages to help students learn the difference between "inner power" and "power over" others?and begin to recognize and internalize the core values practiced in their school and community.
Whichever aspect of "respect" you focus on, research shows that kids do best when they feel connected to others, their schools, their community, and the planet we live on. This key building block of self-esteem leads to an enthusiasm for learning, achievement, success, and satisfaction in life.
The following websites will help you dig deeper into this multidimensional and critically important topic. Whether you'd like to learn more about the thinking behind values education or you're looking to enhance a current program, we hope we've got the bases covered!
April is Math Awareness Month, and this year's theme is "Mathematics and Climate." As many math teachers have discovered, climate (and climate change) can present great opportunities for teaching math concepts. To honor Math Awareness Month (and Earth Day!), next month's Class Ideas will help you supercharge this cross-curricular connection with an informative article, downloadable activities, and an exciting subscribers-only special. See you then!