Preparing Pre-Service Teachers

Image of the C3 TriangleI recently had the privilege of speaking and working with pre-service teachers at a local university. Over 30 college students were packed into a small room, seated at tables forming a half-circle, 2 rows deep. In the group, there were early childhood, elementary, and secondary (history, math, language arts, and music to name a few) pre-service teachers.

One might wonder what someone could talk about that would be meaningful to such a wide variety of interests. The challenges faced by teachers of young students and teachers of older students seem quite divergent. However, one of the biggest issues behind poor academic achievement, anti-social behavior, and truancy is the same—a lack of character and the choices that follow.

At Character First Education, we have a model we use to help identify problems (and solutions). It is called The C3 Concept, and it is rather simple:

Character (C1) + Competence (C2) = Consistency (C3)

In order for students (or anyone for that matter) to develop the consistency or mastery necessary for success, they must not only be competent, but they must demonstrate the character necessary to work through adversity and experience success.

As educators, we have the opportunity to help develop a foundation of good character in our students. By modeling good character, developing a common vocabulary to talk about character issues, and celebrating good character choices by our students, we will establish a culture of character in our classroom—one built on respect and consideration. We will experience fewer discipline issues, and when correction is necessary we have a positive and consistent means to address difficult issues while at the same time preserving student dignity. This trusting and supportive atmosphere will enhance student learning, because, as we know, when students do not feel safe or confident, they cannot learn.

You, as an educator will benefit as well. When you spend less of your emotional energy dealing with discipline problems in the classroom, you have more energy for teaching! When your classroom culture is infused with good character and positive attitudes, you can give more energy to your students and receive more in return.

A culture of character in the classroom is a winning situation for everyone, including parents, students, administration, and teachers.

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