Let’s take a moment for… virtues.

I don’t know how the schools you went or your children go to operate but when I was growing up we never had any specific moral education. That said, we did talk about such things as respect, patriotism, sharing  but there was never a special class where we’d study virtues.

Many years ago as a part of Baha’i children classes program I came upon The Family Virtues Guide which is a great compilation of 52 virtues and detailed plan on how to introduce them to children. And from that moment on I knew that teaching virtues will always be a part of my own classes, even if they are English classes only.

What I do is try to associate a virtue with current material. You’d ask how? Let’s go back to finger painting per se. The best virtue to introduce there is cleanliness. You teach children not only about colors and accuracy but you remind them to wash their hands and clean their desks after themselves. You teach them to make sure their clothes are tidy after the activity.

I find that Excellence, Thankfulness, Honesty, Helping, Kindness, Friendliness, Patience and Sharing are quite easy to introduce in just about any class I teach (besides mentioned above cleanliness).  No matter how short the class is I do my best to represent a certain virtue. Children have a collective memory and whatever they hear numerous times goes into their subconscious. It takes of course time and effort to learn and practice but eventually they do learn.

Here’s another example of how I use virtues in my classroom: when I was working in one primary school, we had English classes every day; so once a week we had a virtues class where I’d introduce one virtue per week and give students some activity to do by next class. At the end of the course the students were required to make virtue trees the way they see it and associate one fruit or vegetable with one virtue. More over they had to explain why they chose this association.

It also works perfectly well when you teach virtues to children at home. Children can learn to associate virtues with their toys (“Teddy bear is thankful because he always says “thank you” when I clean him up!”).

I hope to start some discussion here. So you are welcome to contribute and thank you for reading my blog!

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