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Which international school is right for your child? – Chapter 3: An active character education program

Which international school is right for your child? – Chapter 3: An active character education program

Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 17:15 GMT+7

In the last 10 years, school systems around the world recognize that establishing a character education program in school is very important, even in kindergarten. So how can we establish a character educatio in school in Vietnam?

Mr. Mark Fenwick – Head of School – and Mr. Harry Arena – Elementary School Principal of the Canadian International School (CIS) – share information about Ontario’s character education program that is being implemented in the CIS schools.

Could you tell us about the character education program in your school?

Mr. Mark Fenwick: At the Canadian International School System (three programs – International, Bilingual and the Canada-Vietnam Kindergarten), the character education program is integrated into the curriculum modeled on the Ontario approach with 10 character traits: Respect, Responsibility, Integrity, Caring, Optimism, Perseverance, Courage, Cooperation, Peace-Making, and Gratitude. We call this program Character Education in Action.

How do teachers deliver these character traits to students?

Mr. Harry Arena: The program begins in kindergarten and continues through to the grade 12 high school year. The same ten traits are the focus every year. As students grow and mature, they begin to internalize the traits with a greater maturity and understanding. The program helps students to become self-aware of who they are and contributes to their personal well-being.  Students gain a good understanding of the work habits, skills and character traits they will need to be responsible, creative, caring citizens.

If the trait is co-operation, the teacher may introduce co-operative games that can be played. A discussion would follow on how co-operation makes the games successful. In their daily reading, many of the traits are reflected in chosen stories and can be the basis of class discussions. Story starters can focus on a particular trait, and journal writing following a character assembly could further reinforce the character trait presented that day. In this way, all the traits are included over the course of the school year and a variety of curriculum skills are infused in the program. Another example can be found during a Physical Education class. A teacher will integrate character development through team play and co-operation

Are all the teachers trained to teach this program?

Mr. Mark Fenwick: Our Canadian teaching staff at CIS are Ontario-trained and certified by the Ontario Ministry of Education and are members of Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). During their teacher training at the Faculty of Education and during their practice-teaching assignments, where they are supervised by a mentor teacher, they are exposed to the Character Education philosophy. The teachers are also comfortable with the attributes because they grew up in an environment where the attributes are valued.

Thank you very much.

In the Canadian International School System, all character education topics are presented everywhere, inside and outside the classroom, during donation and charity activities, student-led assemblies, etc. For character development to be successful, it must be patiently and consistently nurtured and reinforced in the student’s learning environment, anytime and anywhere. This will help students to gain more confidence and have a better understanding about their own learning. In this dimension of our students’ learning, our partnership with parents is very important. Working together to model and reinforce these attributes, students will acquire the necessary skills for life and form good character traits from a young age to become enthusiastic and responsible citizens.

Lam Giang/CIS

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