I love my job and love researching new methods to improve what I bring to the classroom. And not only because I’ve had a change in career that always makes me feel like I have to prove myself to others because of my ‘wasted’ past years as a journalist, that are very far from the years I’m building now as a preschool teacher, but because learning is something that never grows old and is never wasted.
I don’t seem to find much free online courses when it comes to teaching, especially early childhood education. But the few that I was able to find on FutureLearn and Coursera were pretty good and some could be adapted for young learners too.
I started Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms at Coursera, but unfortunately didn’t manage to finish it but will be taking it again and strongly recommend it to all teachers out there that are looking for something that is not only about how best to teach the curriculum and the provided syllabus in new, interesting ways but on how to include personal skills as well. Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms is on how to integrate character into your lessons by first looking at yourself, at your skills, your goals and objectives.
To do this, you are first given the 24 Character Strengths list and asked to rank them according to what you think would make your students succeed. Whether for example, being creative or kind will increase their success. Then, you take a survey at The Via Institute of Character, where your character strengths are ranked according to your answers. The best part is, when you are asked to put your two ranked lists together- the one for your class and the survey results (Below are my results.) Not only it might make you realise certain aspects of you or your the way you teach, you weren’t aware of, but it will make you include more character into your lesson plans. And that’s just the first task of week 1!
Character is sometimes left out of lesson plans. I have to admit that after finishing just the first week of this course, I realised I left character out more than I wanted to. And when teaching young learners, it is something you must include. Teaching to read, write, follow the dots or grip the pencil correctly are all useful things but teaching or better, enhancing how to be kind, hopeful, loving and open minded is something that if not nurtured could be lost.
Once again, I strongly recommend this course.
|Importance for student success.||Character Strength||Your ranked VIA scores|
|23||Appreciation of beauty & excellence||21|
|4||Forgiveness and mercy||8|
|9||Grit (persistence and resiliency)||5|
|10||Love of Learning||2|
|23||Zest (energy and enthusiasm)||19|