Monday, June 04, 2012

Love Goes to School

Photo Credit: Gisela Giardino
I was recently reading about the work of Dominic Randolph at Riverdale Country School in New York City.  The article focused on their character education program that was developed through conversations with Martin Seligman and Steve Levin of KIPP fame.   These two educators, Randolph and Levin, took the work of Martin Seligman on character virtues and decided to utilize the character traits that Seligman had uncovered in his work Character Strengths and Virtues.  They were further bolstered by the research of Angela Duckworth who found that IQ was not as strong a determiner as Grit in predicting academic achievement.  She came up with a short list for the educators as the focal point of their character development programs. Now, this is what I found curious.

After a few small adjustments (Levin and Randolph opted to drop love in favor of curiosity), they settled on a final list: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.

So, my one question is: Why did they drop love? Is that not a powerful character trait? Did they feel it was impossible to teach love at school?  Then I came across a podcast by Andy Stanley with Joel Manby, the author of Love Works: Seven Timeless Principles for Effective Leaders.  Mr. Manby takes the bold step of declaring that you can move the bottom line and still take care of people in an organization.

This definitely confirms my feelings about teaching and modeling love in schools. What better place to highlight the self sacrificing quality we desire in ourselves and those we (here it comes again) love than in the school setting.  We see many schools announcing the virtues of tolerance and their anti-bullying programs, but I'd like to explore what would happen when love goes to school.

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