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Using a Common Language of Character in the Classroom

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We’ve empowered [our students] and given them permission to sit in their greatness.” Pam Knox Resource Coordinator, John P. Parker School

In “Common Language, Uncommon Community,” students and educators from John P. Parker School, Hyde Park School and College Hill Fundamental Academy in the Cincinnati Public School District share their stories of transformation through Thriving Learning Communities program at their schools. Why is a common language so important? “When character strengths are integrated throughout the classroom and school, there tends to be a larger impact on community building and overall school culture,” notes Karen Graves, TLC Program Manager. “This also can expand to relationships at home.”

  • Resource Coordinator Pamela Knox shares excitement for TLC’s possibilities. “There’s an awakening in the school,” she professes. “The parents feel different. It’s trickling down and manifesting. It’s pervasive.” Key positives in the school’s “awakening” are a decline in discipline issues and an overall increase in family involvement.

  • School principal Kim Mack, PhD, says the types of discipline issues are less severe, and they’ve made fewer referrals. “We’re having more conversations about the antecedent of behavior. Students are able to articulate and use the language of TLC to talk about those things.”

  • The strong sense of community that has sprouted from character strength awareness at John P. Parker washes over each child. Intervention Specialist Trudy Cochran describes it this way: “By recognizing and naming character strengths, the child has been given the freedom to manifest that strength – the permission to own it.”

The shared, strengths-based language of the Thriving Learning Communities program has the potential to transform school culture and build tighter-knit classroom communities. Read more about the work in this latest case study on our Impact Page.

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