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Character Development in General Music Class

Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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A music teacher could easily highlight character pillars or character building virtues so that students become aware of their actions. In my own music classroom, I did a small social experiment. My choir displayed exemplary conduct and demonstrated character while in my classroom. Not by accident, I did this by design. But I wanted to see if they exhibited the same virtues outside of my classroom during the rest of the school day.

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I had a very simple rewards and acknowledgment system based on the above highlighting of the character traits and virtues instilled in my music room. There was no cost involved and it only took one weekend to get the note cards, submission box and certificates in order. IT was simple, when one student witnessed another student displaying any of the character traits we strove for when we were together as a choir during the rest of the school day, they would write what they observed and put it in an anonymous box.

Quickly, it was obvious there was no anonymity. But to my surprise and delight, not only were they exhibiting what they learned (demonstrating respect, being gracious, caring for others, etc) but there was no reciprocity. Mind you, this was with a group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders so logic would say that friends would nominate friends who would nominate friends. But that wasn’t the case. In a display of tremendous character, the students only nominated when there was cause to nominate and never expected a nomination in return.

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