Smart Character Choices

Smart Character Choices is a character education program that is embedded into the fabric of schools, is integrated with school safety policies and based on the principles of American Democracy. It is grounded in Internal Control Psychology; the belief that behavior is guided by one’s personal actions and thoughts not by fate, luck, or other external circumstances. The program philosophy and framework directly contrasts the traditional coercive behavior management used in schools that turn staff and students into adversaries. Teacher modeling, challenging academic curriculum, instructional processes and ongoing assessment of learning are used to support high student achievement. Additionally, non-coercive management of the school/classroom environments and positive relationships with parents/guardians provides support for student character development.

Coercive or externally controlled school environments destroy the school culture and relationships between staff members and between students and teachers. External control is a short way to describe what happens when we use the hurtful habits; criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing and rewarding to control, in school. Using caring or connecting habits are what bring teachers, parents and students together; caring, listening, supporting, contributing, encouraging, trusting and befriending. (Glasser 2000) Connecting with students and leading them to connect with school is essential.

The importance of strong relationships is emphasized throughout the program components as well as the emphasis on the motivation and development of the whole child in an educational environment that nurtures high expectations and academic success all the while supporting the development of character traits