Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Change Agent #3: Keep a list of traits in mind.

Until you get used to thinking in terms of character, it might be difficult to figure out what character traits are being touched upon by any given book. So you may want to familiarize yourself with some good lists of traits. Make a copy and put it up near your desk or study room. Here are four:

  • The list of character traits for Georgia. Valuable for comprehensiveness and grouping.

  • Dr. Thomas Lickona’s list. Valuable for its universality.

  • Benjamin Franklin’s list. Valuable for its practicality. (See under “Activities, Discussions and Questions”)

  • Professor Stanley’s list. Valuable for its connection with success.

Caution: the over-achievers among us might try to hit all of these character traits in a semester. But if you try to cover everything, you can’t give serious attention to any one trait. A better approach might be to take these lists and circle the traits you’re most passionate about. Concentrate on them and the ones that come up most frequently in your choice of literature. Those will probably be the traits you’ll be most effective in passing on to your students.

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