CHARACTER EDUCATION ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Relationships are important.
Students will identify and share personal strengths of other group members.
Paper and pencils.
40 - 50 minutes.
This activity can have substantial impact on students. The necessity of avoiding any "bragging" behaviors is so ingrained, that many of us have real difficulty accepting genuine compliments or expressions of appreciation from other. In this exercise, each student, in turn, must silently listen while group members brainstorm his personal strengths. This kind of positive support can have dramatic influence on a child's self-concept.
It is important to emphasize that although each of us has weaknesses, as well as strengths, this activity is intended to address only the strengths. This is not a denial of unpleasant characteristics, but simply a chance to consider only positive ones at this time. For this reason, no negative statements of any kind will be permitted during this activity.
Prepare students for participation by brainstorming a vocabulary of strength words or phrases. Write these on the blackboard so students can refer to the list during the "bombardment" session. You may even want to role play an example by brainstorming for one class member, or a fictitious character.
Have the students break into groups of 4 or 5,preferably with other students they know well and feel comfortable with. Focusing on one person at a time, the group is to bombard him with all the strengths they see in him. The person being bombarded should remain silent until the group has finished. One member of the group should act as recorder, listing the strengths an giving them to the person when the group has finished. Encourage students to do this quickly--the "bombarding" needs to be at a fast pace, with the recorder not being too encumbered with spelling or handwriting.
Encourage students to generate lists of 10-15 items for each student, but not to worry about having exactly the same number for all group members.
Students should also be cautioned that no "put-down" statements are allowed. Only positive asserts are to be mentioned.
When all groups are finished, discuss with the class how it felt to give and receive positive feedback. Have students add their lists to their "Me" Journal. (See chapter 4. "Me" Journal.)