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Virtue Based Classroom Management, virtue to be cultivated, positive discipline

VBCM 4: Virtue To Be Cultivated Notes

Welcome to the Virtue Based Classroom Management Series where you will find ideas and free downloads for implementing Education in Virtue in your classroom. This is the fourth post. For a complete list of posts, topics, and free downloads click here.

CLICK HERE for your free download of Virtue To Be Cultivated Notes.

The last post was about the importance of positive parent-teacher communication. Sharing the good things that happen at school help build bridges of trust and support. It lets parents know that you are both on the same team and opens the doors for real collaboration between home and school. When you reinforce virtuous behavior in your students, students are able to trust you in the classroom.

Using the language of the virtues helps with classroom discipline and the conversations after an incident of inappropriate behavior in school. It is an approach that maintains the student’s dignity and helps the child identify the root cause of the misbehavior. When you start with open-ended, non-threatening questions, you are allowing the student to tell his or her own story. To engage the student’s reasoning, ask him or her what he would do differently if he or she could, and how that would change the outcome. Try to help the student see the situation from different perspectives, especially by asking how they would feel if the situation was reversed. At this point, it is important to listen, so that the student knows that you still respect him or her.

It is at this point of the conversation that the virtue cards or saint cards are helpful. I like to retell the situation, and say something like “If I were in your situation, I would be feeling frustrated. When I get frustrated it is hard for me to be patient with other people, so I would need the virtue of patience. What about you?” This lets the student know that you understand them, even if their choice of actions was inappropriate. With older elementary students, it is helpful to lay out 3-4 virtue cards, and talk about how each one could be helpful in a situation. If someone got angry in the hallway and pushed another student, the conversation could begin this way: “Here are three virtues that stood out to me while I was listening to you. Respect, self-control, and patience. I know which virtue I would need if I were in your place, but we all have different challenges and crosses in our lives. Let’s talk about some of the virtues, and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. He can use this moment to show you something great about yourself, an area where He wants you to be holy.”Virtue Based Classroom Management, virtue to be cultivated, positive discipline

Once the student has chosen a virtue, discuss 2-3 ways the student can practice that virtue to form the habit. With older students, we write out the “Virtues To Be Cultivated Note” together, so that the parents can support their child in the growth in virtue. Close the conversation with a prayer, thanking the Lord for His guidance and asking for His strength.

By helping the student identify a virtue to practice, you are empowering him or her to follow Jesus Christ and grow in holiness. Stopping a bad habit is hard, especially when you don’t have anything to fill the void. Actively practicing a new habit is so much easier. You are providing the student with concrete and positive steps for how to deal with a similar situation in future.

Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference, include holy cards. I have seen students keep the saint cards until they are tattered and torn in back pockets and pencil pouches or taped to lockers and binders. It is encouraging to see students striving for holiness, and it often serves as a reminder for all of us.

This PDF is editable.   

CLICK HERE for your free download of Virtue To Be Cultivated Notes.