Character Strengths

In the first week of my Coursera course on teaching character, I had to rate and assign 24 character strengths for my students, and then for myself. There was a file with 24 different strengths in one column, a column for student success, and a column for myself after taking an online survey at

For my students, the top ten character strengths I assigned were:

  1. Love
  2. Kindness
  3. Integrity
  4. Forgiveness
  5. Gratitude
  6. Humility
  7. Hope (optimism)
  8. Open-mindedness
  9. Love of Learning
  10. Self-control

After taking the online survey, my top ten were:

  1. Forgiveness
  2. Honesty
  3. Fairness
  4. Love of Learning
  5. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
  6. Grit
  7. Teamwork
  8. Curiosity
  9. Gratitude
  10. Humility

While there were a few strengths I had in both my and my students’ top ten, there wasn’t much overlap. I was surprised because I had some strengths which I ranked lower for my students (Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, for example).

This sort of exercise is a great way to reflect on how you are teaching as well as what you show your students. A quote by James Baldwin, one of the speakers in a video lecture, said this:

“… Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

That is such a powerful quote to me. If overall student behavior is a reflection of their teacher, then I want to show my students positive character strengths. What about you?

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Filed under Character Strengths, Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Self Reflection, Teachers

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