Character acim bookstore duties often hurtle downward from administrators to crash painfully into unwilling hands. Educators who contracted to teach other courses suddenly become accidental teachers of this subject, forced to make unsought trips into character education country. In Chapters 1 and 2 of this guidebook, we gave such accidental teachers travel tips on what to pack, where to stay, and where to eat when required to take such “business trips.” In this final chapter, we prepare a proactive presentation on character education – a character education lesson plan that will be both captivating and effective.
Character education presentations should be viewed as priorities – especially by the accidental teacher who has been sent to deliver them. It is important to remember that trips into the lands of mathematics, science, history, and other subjects will be unsuccessful if character education presentations fail.
Prepare your proactive presentation weeks before you must give it, working to make it so excellent that even the king of character education land will applaud. The following points should always be included. Others may be added if time and your expense account allow.
Parts of a Proactive Presentation
1. Proactive Approach. Too often, accidental teachers engage in reactive character education lesson plans. Reactive presentations look at the past instead of anticipating the future. Focusing only on weeding out undesirable bad behavior, they encourage reactivity. That is, they encourage students to change their performance or behavior just because they have become aware that they are being observed. The accidental teacher must work to avoid reactivity.
This can best be done by consciously adopting a proactive approach. Anticipate the moral needs of your listeners in character education country. For example, give a presentation on responsibility before, not after, listeners prove themselves irresponsible. The control you exercise with such a presentation will cause listeners to build and exercise responsibility immediately. Irresponsibility is avoided or greatly reduced through proactive presentation of the trait.
Be enthusiastically proactive in your speaking. If you aren’t interested in what you have to say, your listeners will not be interested either.
2. Story Power. Have you noticed how often dynamic public speakers use stories in their presentations? Storytelling is considered by many to be the key to business communications. It is the key to character education communications, too. Even the great teachers of ancient Greek and Rome recognized that fact. They used story power to teach high moral values – and the accidental teacher will want to do the same.
Listeners get caught up in story-powered presentations. They identify with the central figures of stories, their attention riveted on your presentation to learn what happens to those figures. Stories are non-threatening. Stories don’t point the finger, or shake it in listeners’ faces. Stories in character education presentations link powerful emotions with information – a key way to drive knowledge deep into your listeners. Stories, and the understanding they impart, are retained long after lecture have disappeared in a memory dump.
So base your presentations on books, but not just any books. Choose books that are purpose-written for inhabitants of character education land. For young listeners, select books that provide clear definitions of moral traits, and weave explanations of those qualities into exciting fiction. For more mature listeners, choose how-to books written specifically for character education country.
3. Professional Input. Proactive presentations link professional input to story power. Give your presentation maximum clout by using character education lesson plans prepared by the author of the book on which you base it. An author who is a professional in both the educational and literary worlds will deliver the kind of input that keeps listeners captivated while conveying accurate knowledge.