8 Strength of Character

8 STRENGTHS OF CHARACTER

FOR SUCCESS IN SCHOOL,WORK, AND BEYOND

Smart & Good High Schools, the just-released national report based on our Center’s two-year

study of 24 high schools and adolescent character development, is now available for downloading from our new high school web site (www.cortland.edu/character/highschool).

The report describes a wide range of promising practices for developing “8 strengths of character that help youth lead productive, ethical, and fulfilling lives.”

These 8 strengths are:

1. LIFELONG LEARNER AND CRITICAL THINKER

 Strives to acquire the knowledge that characterizes an educated person

 Approaches learning as a lifelong process

 Demonstrates skills of critical analysis

 Takes seriously the perspectives of others

 Seeks expert opinion and credible evidence

 Sees connections and integrates knowledge

 Generates alternative solutions

 Demonstrates willingness to admit error.

2. DILIGENT AND CAPABLE PERFORMER

 Strives for excellence; gives best effort

 Demonstrates initiative and self-discipline

 Knows standards of quality and creates high-quality products; takes pride in work

 Sets personal goals and assesses progress

 Perseveres in the face of difficulty.

3. SOCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY SKILLED PERSON

 Has positive interpersonal relationships

 Communicates effectively

 Is able to work well with others

 Is able to resolve conflicts

 Demonstrates emotional intelligence

 Responds to the feelings and needs of others.

4. ETHICAL THINKER

 Possesses a well-formed conscience based on universal ethical values such as justice and caring

 Knows and appreciates the “wisdom of the ages”

 Is sensitive to the ethical dimensions of situations

 Seeks the knowledge needed to make an informed moral judgment

 Can articulate a personal value system

 Is committed to integrity as a core value.

5. RESPECTFUL AND RESPONSIBLE MORAL AGENT

 Respects the rights and dignity of all persons

 Understands that respect includes the right of conscience to disagree respectfully with others’ beliefs or behaviors

 Uses a thoughtful decision-making process that considers choices and consequences and applies ethical standards/principles

 Possesses a strong sense of personal efficacy and responsibility to do what’s right

 Takes responsibility for mistakes

 Accepts responsibility for setting a good example

and being a positive influence

 Develops and exercises capacity for intellectual and ethical leadership.

6. SELF-DISCIPLINED PERSON WHO PURSUES A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

 Demonstrates self-control

 Pursues physical, emotional, and mental health

 Makes responsible personal choices that contribute to continuous self-development, a healthy lifestyle, and a positive future.

7. CONTRIBUTING COMMUNITY MEMBER AND DEMOCRATIC CITIZEN

 Contributes to classroom, school, and community

 Demonstrates civic virtues and skills needed for participation in democratic processes

 Appreciates the nation’s democratic heritage and democratic values

 Demonstrates awareness of interdependence and a sense of responsibility to humanity.

8. SPIRITUAL PERSON ENGAGED IN CRAFTING A LIFE OF NOBLE PURPOSE

 Considers existential questions (“What is the meaning of life?”, “What is happiness?, “What is the purpose of my life?”)

 Cultivates an appreciation of transcendent values such as truth, beauty, and goodness

 Pursues authentic happiness

 Possesses a rich inner life

 Pursues deep, meaningful connections—to others, nature, a higher power, and so on

 Seeks a life of noble purpose

 Formulates life goals and ways to pursue them

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http://www.cortland.edu/character/newsletters/2005-winter-red.pdf

Article is taken from the website of

the Center for the 4th & 5th R’s,   Cortland, State University of New York

Vol 11 Issue 2.   Winter 2005