A Former Teacher Shares His Unique Perspective on The Character Effect™
January 24, 2020
By Sean Guiliano, The Character Effect™ Specialist
Most people who become teachers do so because they are hoping to help students beyond just providing an academic education. I, like most teachers, want to be able to help students grow into strong, well-rounded individuals. To accomplish this, teachers need a knowledge base and access to resources beyond those provided in traditional education programs. When I discovered The Character Effect™, I knew that I had found something special.
The Character Effect™ was created by combining the science of and the positive psychology of the character strengths to improve the well-being of teachers and students. This two-pronged approach transforms the classroom into both an educational environment as well as a place of personal growth and development.
With the expansion of technology, students’ attention and focus are always being pulled in different directions. Social media has kids looking to the next new trend before they are even able to process the current one fully. Mindfulness works like an antidote to this in the classroom. Mindfulness asks students to become fully present and aware in that moment and requires the focusing of attention on the task at hand. This focusing also has the effect of reducing stress and anxiety in students. They begin to focus on the here and now, instead of focusing on something negative from the past or possible difficulty in the future. As the students’ stress and anxiety decrease, so does the potential for disruptive behavior.
The second aspect of The Character Effect™, focusing on the character strengths, also creates an environment for students to grow and develop. The 24 Character Strengths help identify each students’ gifts that might be overlooked in a traditional classroom. Students that excel in academics or sports typically have an avenue to receive praise or recognition, but a student that shows great “Curiosity” might be seen as asking too many questions. The Character Effect helps teachers recognize these attributes not as a negative, but rather as positive strengths that can be molded into productive personality aspects. When a student is able to express his or her natural strengths, they are one step closer to fulfilling his or her true potential.
I have seen the real-world benefits of using mindfulness and character strengths in the classroom. By focusing on their character strengths, teachers have been able to build stronger bonds with their students who are typically resistant to authority figures. Teachers are empowered to show students how to focus on the qualities they already possess. This creates a genuine foundation to build a positive relationship. The introduction of mindfulness also helps teachers maintain a calm and tranquil classroom. Students are better able to handle the daily stressors they experience at school. Ultimately, this leads to a more positive experience in the classroom.