By Himani Nischal 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” – Martin Luther King Jr

What is a character?

A person’s character is shown by how they act, think, and feel in life. Character isn’t one thing; it’s a pattern a person demonstrates by how they interact with others and how they treat themselves and others.

Can a school help children build their character?

Children spend most of their time in school so it is very important for them to be in a place where they can build their self-esteem and a positive character. Young children learn a lot from their environment by observing. It is the primary duty of a teacher to help children build their character in a positive manner. In our traditional Indian schooling system, children have generally not been given the opportunity to build their self-esteem. They are not given the chance to speak up for themselves and it hampers their development. Even the best schools in Gurgaon need to do more to provide a positive environment for children where they can express themselves without any hesitation.

What is a teacher’s role in shaping children’s character?

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” – Albert Einstein.

A teacher’s role is not only to impart knowledge but to also help in the character development of the children. Teachers should lead by example and portray the right behavior, speech, and conduct. By doing this she embeds these values in children and also earns love and respect from her students. The bond between an educator and a learner should be based on love and respect and not on fear. When the children get comfortable with their teacher they feel more confident to share their thoughts and ideas in class. As teachers, we should be very clear with our expectations of children. Communication is the key to developing a relationship and it is certainly very important to model whatever kind of behavior and conduct we expect from the children.

With the changing times we need to change ourselves and methods of teaching as well. Our focus should not only be to deliver a lecture but to also impart positive values in children. Positive reinforcement can be one way we encourage children to develop good values. For instance, on a weekly basis, one or more children can talk about their acts where they showed kindness, acted honestly, or helped someone in need.

How can the right classroom environment help in positive character development?

Kids’ interaction with their peers and teachers gives them many opportunities to learn valuable lessons. The classroom environment has a major impact on kids. It is like their second home where they spend most of their time of the day. When a classroom has a positive environment, it aids in the development of a positive character in children.

Open classrooms are one such tool that is used to give liberty and space to children to help them reach their full potential. When children are given the opportunity and guidance, they naturally develop a good character. A classroom is a place where the exchange of ideas takes place. If we keep our lesson delivery more interactive, we will help children develop confidence.

In many schools nowadays, especially in the top Gurgaon schools, a few minutes of morning class are used to give children to speak about their feelings and to develop a bond with their teachers and peers. Social Service is another such habit that the top Gurgaon schools are inculcating in children from a very young age. It lets children understand their responsibility towards their society. This helps in the overall holistic development of children.

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