Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Teaching Character: Part 1

On August 15 I blogged about teaching character. Specifically, how I thought it was important but I didn't know how to teach it.

There is, however, one thing I do in class that does get at character. The first day of class I stress to them that their performance on their first job will have a tremendous impact on their entire future. Establishing a good reputation immediately is of paramount importance. To do this, they need to make it a habit of making sure they perform every task well, no matter how insignificant it may seem.

We do not help students in college by accepting poor work, which I and others do all the time. If they come to class, come to exams, and just put forth some work, we generally pass them, regardless of the quality. That is generally not true in the workplace.

So in my senior level class I tell them they need to become accustomed to doing every task perfectly or near perfectly. It must become a habit. To help instill this, I simply do not accept any quiz or homework that is anything short of perfect or near perfect. Otherwise, they must repeat the assigment, plus additional work.

I don't know if this helps, but I believe in what I am doing. Consider what a former student told me about his job selling medical equipment to doctors.

I could loose a doctor in a day just because of one mistake and it might not even be my fault but if I loose a doc I don’t get paid and that is not fun (I know for a fact).