Our work with schools has helped us identify "4 KEYS" to developing performance character (needed for best work) and moral character (needed for ethical behavior).
We believe these 4 KEYS can increase the power of any educational practice:
1. A Community That Supports & Challenges: Building group norms that hold all members accountable for doing their best work and being their best ethical selves.
2. Self-Study: Assessing our strengths and areas for improvement, then setting goals and monitoring progress.
3. Other-Study: Studying positive and negative examples of other people and the products of their work and applying lessons learned to our own efforts.
4. Public Performance/Presentation: Sharing our goals, progress toward achieving them, and the products of our work with a wider audience (classmates, schoolmates, school staff, parents, or the community).
The 4 KEYS can be used in any order. What matters most is the educator's strategic rationale for choosing a particular KEY or combination of KEYS.
Students need to learn that QUALITY means rethinking, reworking, and polishing.
[Winter 2009, Excellence & Ethics, Center for the 4th & 5th Rs, SUNY Cortland, www.cortland.edu/character