Forty years in the classroom shows. Rita Pierson can speak with such clarity, such honesty, such confidence and such knowledge. She is a jewel. Her talk is all inspiration because 40 years in a classroom has made her capable of understanding and knowing that it all comes down to relationships and connections. It is the stuff of the personal and social capability. Students will enable themselves when they have a champion. They will do better, try better and achieve more when they have someone who knows how to get the best out of them. The personal and social capability is about this: communication, developing leadership skills, understanding relationships, becoming confident and resilient, recognising personal qualities and achievements. Rita Pierson’s words can ring out and resound because she has spent 40 years in a classroom and she knows what she is talking about. As she speaks she is connecting with her audience and teaching them too about personal and social capability. We are educators. We can do this.
Amongst other things we revisited character building in our group yesterday because we were combined with the group which was looking at the Ethical Understanding capability of the Australian National curriculum. It is important to remind ourselves that building character is probably a good and worthwhile thing to be doing for children and adolescents. As adults we ought to be looking at the sorts of values we should like our next generation to have. There are plenty of resources for character building and development on the Net. Our school has open and published values we engender and maybe for character building we should look at those again to see how we can sustain them or whether we need to revise them. Maybe you do need to change the emphasis on character traits that you want to develop depending on the decade you are living in and your location? We were shown the Via Institute on Character as a spring board for the sorts of material to look at. You can also look at Goodcharacter.com to find plenty of resources and information. Then there are the 9 character types from the Enneagram site. These are often a good starting point for discussions about character and what we mean and what we want. Somewhere in our society we need our building blocks for character building. It used to be the Bible and in some societies and groups it still is . Other nations use their religious beliefs and writings to be the things which guide character in life. We also had fairy tales and folkloric tales but these seem to have lost traction as well. As a nation we need to be looking at what we are using as foundation blocks for our character development. ACARA can feed into that easily but the source material could widely differ and we need to consider if that is what we want.