Rainy River District School Board

You are here

Character in Action

The Rainy River District School Board supports character education in all of its schools and identifies the priority to enhance a safe learning and teaching environment. It is a key part of our Equity and Inclusive Education initiative. Initially, the Anti-Bullying Curriculum was developed to address this one key issue - a safe learning and teaching environment. The new Character in Action program aligns with the Ministry of Education's directives and focuses on the empowerment of all stakeholders in fostering the democratic ideals of citizenship, justice, thoughtful decision-making, and enhanced quality of life.

Introduction

The practice and application among our students and staff in following the character attributes - Respect, Initiative, Courage, Compassion, Optimism, Honesty, Integrity, Fairness, Perseverance, and Responsibility - maximizes opportunities to learn. Correspondingly, the First Nations' teachings that address body, mind and spirit development and well-being by encompassing the Seven Grandfather Teachings of love, respect, humility, bravery, honesty, truth and wisdom are valued and acknowledged within the character attributes.

Character education at the secondary level has focused on building on the strengths of individuals to make our community stronger. The integration of all the Character In Action attributes are being developed through the secondary Grades 9-12 English curriculum. Students are taught about respect through the Grade 9 Anti-Bullying program within the Grade 9 health unit.

Grade 9 students are also encouraged to develop healthy relationships through the mentoring program that promotes the Seven Grandfather Teachings. Students in Grade 10 learn more about self direction through Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

Stephen R. Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People are the guiding principles supporting Character Education in the Rainy River District School Board.

Covey's 7 Habits

"I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a "transformer" in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader." ~Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey published his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in the late 1980's. He discovered over years of reading and studying success, that certain underlying themes seemed to recur. These weren't superficial behavioural "how to-s", but went deeper, relating more to one's ethics or way of life. The result was the development of his "Seven Habits", equally applicable to your personal, social or family life. Covey's Seven Habits are the guiding principles supporting Character Education in the Rainy River District School Board.

Private Victory
The first three habits relate to our own internal or personal philosophy

  • Be Proactive - Be aware of yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, motivations - and be proactive in finding out as much as you can about yourself. Then be proactive in applying that knowledge to your relations with others.
  • Begin with the End in mind - In summary, create and live by a personal mission statement. This may lead onto more specific goals and objectives, but the idea is that you try to live as the sort of person you'd like to be remembered for when you've passed on.
  • Put First Things First - Define what it is that really matters in your life, then spend your time on those important things. Rather than spreading our time thinly across too many activities, concentrate on doing a few things well.

Public Victory
The next three habits relate to our interaction with our environment

  • Think Win / Win - Not an original phrase, but in all your dealings with others, aim for each little negotiation to provide success (a win) for both sides.
  • Seek First to Understand, then be Understood- Put another way, "God gave us two ears and one mouth, and they should be used in that proportion." In your communications, be sure you know the other person's point of view before you start expounding your own ideas.
  • Synergize - Look for ways to take your ideas and other people's ideas and build on them together, on the basis that the outcome will be something greater than the sum of the inputs.

Renewal

  • Sharpening the Saw - renewing yourself - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Character Calendar

Schools engage in actions that focus on and support character development with a monthly theme outlined in the Character Calendar.

September - Respect
October - Initiative
November - Courage
December - Empathy and Compassion
January - Optimism
February - Honesty
March - Integrity
April - Fairness
May - Perseverance
June - Responsibility

The Rainy River District School Board's Character In Action monthly themes are outlined for each grade and coordinated with our board's current anti-bullying units of study with grade specific lessons. This comprehensive resource includes activities for each grade that supports the character attribute focus for each month, September through June. Grade specific plans of suggested teaching strategies for each character trait are available here. Detailed teacher resource materials are available in each school and outlined month by month in the Character In Action teaching modules.