Building character skills key to improved education

A programme aimed at building social, emotional and character skills also significantly improves quality of education as it leaves more time for teachers to teach and students to learn.

The concept includes organised activities to build character that go beyond more traditional rules or policies to control or punish problem behaviours, according to a study of 20 elementary schools by Oregon State University.

The study found for the first time that teachers believed this approach improved “overall school quality” by 21 percent, with parents and students agreeing in slightly smaller numbers, the Journal of School Health reports.

“Improved social and character skills leave more time for teachers to teach and students to learn and be more motivated,” said Brian Flay, Oregon professor in social and behavioural health.

“What we’re finding now is that we can really address some of the concerns in our schools by focusing more on character in the classroom,” added Flay, according to an Oregon statement.

“These are not new concepts, they’re the kind of things that have always been discussed in families, church and social groups,” Flay said.

“A third-grade lesson, for instance, might be helping kids to understand how other people feel, to learn about empathy. That may seem simple, but in terms of educational performance, it’s important,” he added.

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