Academy for Social-Emotional Learning in Schools

Positive Relationships



Teaching Social-Emotional Skills Amid COVID-19

Summary:  This article is part of a series published in Education Week called “How We Go Back to School.”  This particular article addresses the need for good social-emotional skills in dealing with the challenges of schooling during the current pandemic.  This article focuses on connecting students with caring adults, practicing emotional intelligence, and dealing with sources of trauma and stress.  In each section, there are links to additional articles and resources.

Source:  Arianna Prothero and Sarah D. Sparks, Education Week, September 2, 2020



The Essential Teacher Trait That Has Emerged in the Pandemic

Summary:  This article underscores the importance of the teacher-student connection and empathy as means to work through the challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic.  These traits, as well as other social-emotional skills and competencies, have helped teachers and students alike overcome some of the challenges presented by online learning.  

Source:  Elizabeth Heubeck, Ed Week – TopSchoolJobs, July 28, 2020



How to Create Community in a Virtual Classroom

Summary:  This article provides some suggestions as to how to build community while learning remotely.  Some of the same activities that would be used in face-to-face learning can also be adapted to online learning.  Some examples include using cyber icebreakers, creating classroom rules and procedures, creating class traditions, doing collaborative projects, and  maintaining individual relationships.

Source:  Susan Yergler, Edutopia, August 17, 2020



The Science of Keeping Kids Engaged—Even From Home

Summary:  This article talks about student engagement in online learning and the importance of the science of motivation.  The authors focus on creating a sense of belonging, connecting work to purpose and relevance, and hard work, failure, and mindset.

Source:  Ian Kelleher and Chris Hulleman, Edutopia, August 21, 2020



8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom

Summary:  This article suggests both synchronous and asynchronous strategies that teachers can use to engage students during virtual learning.  These strategies include such ideas as using Zoom Chat for student responses, breakout rooms for small-group instruction, and other ideas for asynchronous instruction.

Source:  Emelino Minero, Edutopia, August 21, 2020



The Twelve Days of Teaching Character & Civility

Teaching Character & Civility

by Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES. USD

Seminar: I had just completed my 40-minute talk urging teachers and other school personnel to focus on the character development of students in their classrooms and schools: “What is it?” “Why do we need it?” “Where do we find the time to do it?” “How do we do it?” “How do we know if it’s working or not?”

After the presentation, I opened it up for questions. A middle-grade teacher asked: “For now, I just want to know how to I teach my kids to be civil to one another in and out of my classroom?”

On the FIRST day of classes my mentor said to me:

“You asked me how do you teach students to be civil to one another?”

Character is about relationships – emotional and social. It is about teaching your students skills such as sharing, participating, following directions, and listening. It is about helping them to recognize their own emotions (self-control), how to recognize the emotions in others (listening and questioning), and how to motivate oneself (grit and perseverance). It is about learning how to be a friend, how to care for others, how to appreciate others, how to be polite, respectful, courteous, civil, and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.

On the SECOND day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I want you to think about the implications of this survey and read this article. Notice we are talking about skill development that students can and must learn in your classroom (and elsewhere).”

A survey of 8,000 teachers done at Vanderbilt University identified these top 10 skills that students need to succeed: “Listen to othersfollow the stepsfollow the rulesignore distractionsask for helptake turns when you talkget along with othersstay calm with othersbe responsible for your behaviorand do nice things for others.”

Read: 7 Ways To Teach Children Civility, Matthew Lunch, The EDVOCATE, 2-23-18. He says that “our children desperately need someone to teach them civility and show why it is important.” His seven ways include: 1) manners matter, 2) show tolerance, 3) give examples, 4) listen well, 5) apologize regularly, 6) encourage empathy, and, 7) practice what you preach.

On the THIRD day of classes my mentor said to me:

“We should discuss the curricular and teaching implications of these two studies. The Pew Research Center lays the foundation for your question about how to teach students to be civil.”

They report that of the ten skills Americans say kids need to succeed in life, communication skills, was selected by most of the respondents. In another report about 21st century skills, respondents noted that there is a need to teach children and youth two very important skills: communication and collaboration. In one sense, these make up a skills curriculum that you and others should be implementing to teach students oral, written, and nonverbal communication skills, including the emotional and social skills that we talked about.

On the FOURTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I do not know where I read this—it was in my notes without a reference. The author suggests ways ‘to help students learn to engage in productive, civil discourse in the classroom.’ You might try this with students in your classroom.”

First, begin with yourself—be the model in your classroom.

Second, monitor your classroom climate.

Third, state your dialogue expectations/boundaries clearly from the start. The author notes that the basic rule of civil discourse is to be respectful and don’t make it personal.

Fourth, start small and build as skills develop.

Fifth, have students watch civil debates and begin classroom debates using non-threating topics.

Sixth, have your students use a “private journaling” strategy in which you provide a debatable statement and have them decide whether or not they strongly agree/agree/disagree/strongly disagree and write out the “why” to their selection.

On the FIFTH day of classes my mentor asked me to try this activity::

“When you get a chance, try out this quotation activity with your students. I hope that after this lesson your students will be able to compare and contrast quotations, find information about the author of each quote, determine the meaning and implications of each quote, write and draw how the quote may apply to what they do and say, and, discuss the meaning of the quotes with classmates, friends, family.”

  1. “Civility includes courtesy, politeness, mutual respect, fairness, good manners, as well as a matter of good health.” —P.M. Forni
  2. “I think civility is important to getting things done.” —Amy Klobuchar
  3. “You can disagree without being “—Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  4. “Civility costs nothing, and buys ” —Mary Wortley Montagu
  5. “Civility is the art and act of caring for others.” —Deborah King

On the SIXTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“It’s the holiday season. Take a break. Go see the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Next, watch a couple of episodes of the TV program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Have your students see the movie and a few of the TV programs. Develop a teaching unit and other activities in your classroom that build on a relationship of care (one of FR’s themes). For example, have your students create posters of what Mr. Rogers says to them – followed, of course, by classroom discussion.

“You are loveable.

I like you just the way you are.

There is only one person like you in the world. You are my friend; you are special.”

On the SEVENTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I am a proponent of teaching students the why and how of asking questions. Teaching your students the skills of question-asking helps them clarify what others are saying or doing in a situation. I suggest you access The Right Question Institute and examine their Question Formula Technique, a strategy to teach your students how to formulate their own questions.” (

On the EIGHTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I suggest that you consider being the ‘character education leader’ in your classroom and school. To do that, you should know this about the character development.”

Character is taught to our youth through the media, the Internet, the environment they live in, their peers and role models, and by parents, teachers, schools, youth agencies, and religious institutions.

Character is about strengths and virtues that guide us “to act in an ethical, pro-social manner.” It is about choices—the ones we make daily (good or bad, ethical or unethical); about relationships and social skill; and about “emotional” self-discipline.

On the NINTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I want to tell you a story that I read written by 7th grade language teacher, Justin Parmenter, from Charlotte, N.C. He created an assignment called Undercover Agents of Kindness. He had each student draw a random classmate’s name from a bowl. In pairs, they had two weeks to perform an unexpected act of kindness. Then he had each pair of students write a missions report detailing what they did and how it went. Why don’t you try a similar activity with your students? Maybe call it Mission Civility.”

JP writes: “It was my students’ reflections on the kindness activity that revealed its impact most. Again and again, they acknowledged that it was difficult and felt awkward to approach someone they didn’t know well and do something for them. But almost every time they added that they were proud of themselves for doing it anyway and felt the power in brightening someone else’s day.”

On the TENTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I found an interesting article written by Melissa Benaroya titled How to Teach Civility During Divisive Times, Committee for Children, Feb. 24, 2017.”

She writes: “Civility goes beyond being polite and courteous; it involves listening to others with an open mind, disagreeing respectfully and seeking common ground to start a conversation about differences. Acting with civility requires children to be respectful, reflective and self-aware. Learning the skills of perspective taking, empathy and problem- solving helps children understand that their actions and words affect individuals as well as their entire community, encouraging them to rise up and act with civility in tough situations…. By teaching skills like empathy, problem- solving and perspective taking, we can help nurture civility in our children.”

One the ELEVENTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“Here are four resources to help you teach your students the positive behaviors of being civil and people of good character.”

  • Nine Lessons on Peer Relationships
  • Class Meetings: Creating a Safe School in Your Classroom
  • Behavior Problems in the Classroom: What to know, What to
  • 3 Steps to Civil Discourse in the Classroom


On the TWELFTH day of classes my mentor said to me:

“I have three gifts for the new year for you (no, not gold, frankincense, and myrrh). They are PEACE, HOPE, and LOVE!”

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES. USD 12-1-19




by Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, University of San Diego. 

The 90th annual MLB All-Star Game was played on July 9th at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The American League won the game for the seventh straight year. Players are selected based on their SKILLS by three groups—fan voting, player voting, and the Commissioner’s office.

In schools and classrooms, we call it the SKILLS GAME taught by All-Star Teachers at all grade levels. The “fan voting” includes parents and students. “Player voting” includes teachers and staff. The “commissioner’s” selections are from school and district administrators.

What might you find on a SKILLS SCORECARD?

On one of the older cards, you will find Bloom’s Taxonomy—the “go to game” for thinking skills a few decades ago.

Many of you will remember the SCANS Scorecard, highlighting the need for employee skills in three general areas:
1) basic skills (reading, writing, math, listening, speaking);
2) thinking skills (thinking creatively, making decisions, solving problems, reasoning); and
3) personal qualities such as responsibility, self-esteem, sociability, self- management, and honesty.

You may have seen the Business World’s Scorecard where people are talking and writing about “soft skills.”
Like it or not, emotions are an intrinsic part of our biological makeup, and every morning they march into the office (and our schools and classrooms) with us and influence our behavior. Executives are starting to talk about the importance of such things as trust, confidence, empathy, adaptability and self-control.”
Shari Caudron, “The Hard Case for Soft Skills”

Currently we have the 21st-Century Skills Scorecard that includes:
• Ways of Thinking (creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning);
• Ways of Working (communication and collaboration);
• Tools for Working (communications technology and information literacy); and,
• Skills for Living (citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility).

Two skills that cut across all four categories are “collaborative problem solving” and “learning in digital networks.”

The Fortune 500 Companies Scorecard identifies five top qualities these companies seek in employees:
• Teamwork,
• Problem solving
• Interpersonal skills
• Oral communication
• Listening

Another Scorecard offered by the Pew Research Center showed that adults identified several essential skills that were most important for children and youth to learn “to get ahead in the world today.” These included communication skills as the most important, followed by reading, math, teamwork, writing and logic.

There are two other very essential Skills Scorecards. One is on the topic of Emotional Intelligence (ET) and the other is a scorecard that describes Social Intelligence (SI).

You know well the All Star for Emotional Intelligence. Psychologist Daniel Goleman hit a couple of “homeruns” with his books Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, and Working with Emotional Intelligence. His scorecard included such skills as self-confidence, self-awareness, self- control, commitment and integrity.

In discussing emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman cites Peter Salovey, a Yale professor who categorized components of emotional and social skills into five areas:
• Knowing one’s emotions
• Managing emotions
• Motivating oneself
• Recognizing emotions in others
• Handling relationships

The scorecard for Social Intelligence is also revealing and relevant.
Social intelligence [social skills] is as important as IQ when it comes to happiness, health, and success. Empathetic people are less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and addictions later in life. They are also more likely to be hired, promoted, earn more money, and have happier marriages and better-adjusted children.
Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., Board-Certified Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychologist

If we increase social skills, we see commensurate increases in academic learning. That doesn’t mean that social skills (including cooperation and self-control) make you smarter; it means that these skills make you more amenable to learning.
Stephen Elliott, Vanderbilt Peabody Education and Psychology Researcher and co-author of the newly published The Social Skills Improvement System.

Lastly, there is the Ten Skills Scorecard from the work of Stephen Elliott and Frank Gresham who surveyed over 8,000 teachers and examined 20 years of research in classrooms across the country. They identified these top 10 skills that students need to succeed:
• Listen to others
• Follow the steps
• Follow the rules
• Ignore distractions
• Ask for help
• Take turns when you talk
• Get along with others
• Stay calm with others
• Be responsible for your behavior
• Do nice things for others
“Top 10 Social Skills Students Need to Succeed,” Research News
at Vanderbilt University, 9-27-2007

Does this sound like the “skills-game“ teachers are now playing in schools and classrooms? If so, then give these teachers your vote and be sure they are rewarded for being an ALL-STAR.

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, University of San Diego. BLOG, July 2019



RELATIONSHIPS: Teacher-Student and Teacher-Class

by Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES, April 2019

Sometimes the things you want the most don’t happen and what you least expect happens. I don’t know – you meet thousands of people and none of them really touch you. And then you meet one person and your life is changed forever.

Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal), Love & Other Drugs

That person could be a teacher!  So, let’s talk about teacher-student and teacher-class relationships.

The first, teacher as coach/adviser/counselor. The second, teacher as conductor/director/ringmaster.

Both are grounded (or should be) in “relationships” that are positive, rewarding, and productive. Students deserve teachers who are encouraging conductors of learning rather than domineering ringmasters focused on maintaining order.

In the March 13th issue of Education Week (, Sarah D. Sparks wrote an article entitled, “Why Teacher-Student Relationships Matter,” She framed her full-page report around five questions. I have mark the author’s quotes with “SS.” All other quotes come from different references.

Why are student-teacher relationships important?

          Positive teacher-student relationships are associated with fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions, and lower school dropout rates.

         A teacher’s relationship with students is the best predictor of how much the teacher experienced joy versus anxiety in class.

How does a teacher’s approach affect that relationship?

        Sometimes teachers don’t understand the importance that their relationship with each student has on that student’s identity and sense of belonging.  

Vicki Nishioka, researcher with Education Northwest (SS)

        Emotional control, social and relationship skills are learned behaviors that must be taught and practiced by all students. Enter—the teacher! The ones that know how to counsel and conduct; the          ones that respect, care about and show concern for, the character development of their students. The ones that create a positive learning environment and show that they care are most likely            to have their students reciprocate and show respect for them and their fellow classmates.

How can teachers improve their relationships with students?

        In a word: Empathy. (SS)

       We know from the work of Goleman and others that emotional intelligence consists of four attributes: self-awareness, self- management, social awareness, and relationship management. (You             know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.)

      Research shows that teachers who cultivate empathy for and with their students are able to manage students’ behavior and academic engagement better.

How can teachers maintain healthy boundaries with students?

       Experts caution that for teachers and students, “relationship” does not equal “friend,” particularly on social media. (SS)

       Most school districts have rules guiding teachers about using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  Teachers can create “healthy boundaries” by using common sense, by being honest with         students who want to share their personal stories and, of course, there are always liability issue.

How can relationships with students support teacher quality?

         (Use) student feedback to improve teaching practices, and in particular, such feedback can be used to help teachers build deeper relationships with students. (SS)

         Strong teacher-student relationships have long been considered a foundational aspect of a positive school experience.

Clayton Cook, Professor, University of Minnesota

I conclude by quoting Neville Billimoria, a friend andVice President, Mission Federal Credit Union,  Neville writes a weekly column called “Soul Food Friday.”

In one recent posting, he addressed teachers directly about developing positive relationships with students.

Author Andy Stanley once said, “Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.” Far too many principals share rules with their teachers but they don’t have a relationship with them. And far too many teachers don’t have positive relationships with their students. So what happens? Teachers and students disengage from the mission of the school….To develop positive relationships you need to enhance communication, build trust, listen to them, make time for them, recognize them, show them you care through your actions and mentor them. Take the time to give them your best and they will give you their best.

Great companies that build an enduring brand have an emotional relationship with customers that has no barrier. And that emotional relationship is on the most important characteristic, which is trust.     —Howard Schultz, Businessman

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES, April 2019







MARCH MADNESS with Character Comments


by Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, University of San Diego

Love never fails. Character never quits. And with patience and persistence, dreams do come true.

“Pistol” Pete Maravich, LSU and three NBA teams

(Perhaps the greatest creative offensive talent in history)

As many of you know, this is March Madness monthThe term is believed to have been created by Henry V. Potter, assistant executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association in 1939—the year of the first NCAA men’s basketball tournament—Oregon beat OSU 46-33.

For the first 12 years of the men’s tournament only eight teams participated.  In 2001, a 65-team tournament format was created.  Credit  television—it put the tournament on the national map.  Now the tournament breaks into four regions of 16 teams.  The winning teams from those regions comprise the Final Four.

The NCAA held its first women’s basketball tournament in 1982.  The women’s tournament started with 32 teams, expanding to 64 teams in the 1994 season.  Today, the women’s format echoes the men’s. The women’s final championship game is played the day after the men’s game.

The tournament is a“gamblers paradise.”  According to the American Gaming Association, fans wagered more than $2 billion on March Madness Brackets for the 2015 tournament.  One stat-group estimated that last year American companies lost about $1.9 billion in wages paid to unproductive workers spending company time on betting pool priorities. MM generates big bucks for gamblers, businesses, and athletic programs.

The excitement is on the court watching the talented young women and men give their all for their school.  “A team isn’t a bunch of kids out to win. A team is something you belong to, something you feel, something you have to earn.” 

(Gordon Bombay, The Mighty Ducks)

A question generally asked is “does participation in sports build character?”  As I look at it, it’s a “jump ball” or a “tie” game—a debatable issue.  I’m on the “it does” side.  Heywood Hale Broun (American author, sportswriter, commentator) noted: ”Sports do not build character, they reveal it.”

The second question that usually follows is “what do you mean by character?”  This question suggests that those on either side should, at the very least, be on the same page in defining what character is and what it means.

A person of character,” writes Lickona and Davidson (Smart and Good High Schools-Integrating Excellence and Ethics for Success School, Work, and Beyond), “embodies both performance and moral character.”

They note that performance character is not the same as performance (an outcome), but has certain qualities needed for the further development of one’s potential toward excellence, such as, effort, diligence, perseverance, and self-discipline.  “Moral character is relational, encompassing such qualities as integrity, justice, caring and respect.”  

I have been using this definition.  Character is about behavior, about how one acts. It is about the choices that one makes.  It is about relationships (empathy, compassion, fairness).  It is about virtues (respect, responsibility, honesty) that inform the choices one makes.  Character, in sports, is about providing student-athletes opportunities to study, clarify, reflect, decide, practice and act on such virtues as respect, responsibility, perseverance, honesty, empathy, grit, discipline, loyalty, perseverance, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership.  For student-athletes it is about sacrifice, commitment, and competition.

The game winner:  Good character on and off the field or court should be nurtured; bad character should be corrected.”  

Many believe that the purpose of sports in schools, at all levels, should be to help participants learn the lessons of good character.  My “three-pointer”:

The best way to promote what is best about sports with young athletes is to engage in these kinds of practical activities that encourage sportsmanship and other virtues, so that the old adage that “sports build character” is not just a cliché, but an accurate description of what happens on the field

(Craig Clifford and Randolph Feezell, Sports and Character)

Well-organized sport character education can provide powerful contexts for the teaching and learning of good moral habits.  For character education programs to succeed, athletes need both thinking and reasoning programs, role models, a supportive environment, and the strong moral/philosophical commitment of community members, parents, coaches, teachers, students, boosters, and the media.   (Jennifer Beller, ERICDIGEST, ORG.-ED477729 – 2002)

A sport experience can build character, but only if the environment is structured, and a stated and planned goal is to develop character. This kind of environment must include all individuals (coaches, administrations, parents, participants, etc.) who are stakeholders in the sport setting.    (Joseph Doty, Journal of College and Character) 

Let the games begin and the low seeds win!


Ten years ago my colleague CJ Moloney and I created a course titled “Character and Athletics” which is offered every semester.  In the course, students examine their personal character development through:

  • experiences in athletics,
  • investigating and critiquing programs that are designed to enhance the character of athletes,
  • discussing/debating historical and current issues that promote or negate character development and ethical behaviors,
  • and, exploring the role of athletics as a catalyst for social justice.


Then we developed a Character and Athletics Course offered by USD’s Professional and Continuing Education.  The course was designed for K-12 teachers, coaches, camp counselors and other athletic leaders interested in cultivating an ethical athletic culture focused on positive leadership, community building, and respect for diversity.  For more information:

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, University of San Diego

March 2019 Blog



Reputation, Relationships, and Responsibility

by Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES


I know. I’m lazy. But I made myself a New Years resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have ’til December, right?
– Catherine O’Hara

It happens daily—the references to “character.” We read about it, we hear about it, we even practice it (at least most of us do).

The most frequently asked question: “What is character?” A quick answer: Character is who you are when no one is looking—or, these days, when everyone is looking (see tweeting).

I decided to frame my answer to the question around specific character strengths as I did in my November blog (gratitude) and December blog (emotions, empathy, and engagement).

My purpose is to encourage you and others (students, colleagues, parents) to think about, to talk about, to ask the “why and how” questions about learning, teaching, and practicing the “strengths” that support good, positive character behaviors.

For this blog I have selected three character strengths—Reputation, Relationships, and Responsibility.


One cannot answer the character question better than William Hersey Davis has. (Positive Thoughts, 25 Sep 2016)
Bolded words are mine.

• Reputation is what you are supposed to be; character is what you are.
• The circumstances amid which you live determine your reputation; the truth you believe determines your character.
• Reputation is the photograph; character is the face.
• Reputation comes over one from without; character grows up from within.
• Reputation is what you have when you come to a new community; character is what you have when you go away.
• Your reputation is learned in an hour; your character does not come to light for a year.
• Reputation is made in a moment; character is built in a lifetime.
• Reputation grows like a mushroom; character grows like the oak.
• A single newspaper report gives you your reputation; a life of toil gives you your character.
• Reputation makes you rich or makes you poor; character makes you happy or makes you miserable.
• Reputation is what people say about you on your tombstone; character is what angels say about you before the throne of God.


Character Development is a relational process. Character is a construct that links the person positively to his or her social world. Relationships are the foundation of character.
– Tuft’s Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development

Research clearly reveals that few factors in K-12 education have a greater impact on students’ educational experiences than a caring relationship with teachers. James Comer, professor of child psychiatry at Yale University, notes that, “No significant learning can occur without a significant relationship.”

We know that positive relationships can help reduce the negative effects of stress and boost one’s self-esteem. In classrooms, we know that it starts with the teacher taking time to build trust with each student. We know that trust has to be a joint responsibility between a teacher and his/her students. Teachers tell us that we need to pay more attention to the “relationship factor” because strong relationships help reduce behavior issues, improve classroom climate, enhance student attitudes and attention, and contribute to student achievement.

John Maxwell invites us to “Relationships 101” and the six most important “relationship” words. He notes that the least important word is “I.”
• The most important word: WE
• The two most important words: THANK YOU
• The three most important words: ALL IS FORGIVEN.
• The four most important words: WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
• The five most important words: YOU DID A GOOD JOB.
• The six most important words: I WANT TO UNDERSTAND YOU BETTER.

Post this on your bulletin board and your refrigerator.


Responsibility is knowing and doing what is expected of a person; that is, doing what is right, being dependable, and fulfilling what one agrees to do even is if it means “unexpected sacrifice.”

The word “character” has two Cs in it; one stands for “choices” and the other for “consequences.” Living a life of good character doesn’t happen by chance, nor does it happen by circumstance. It happens by the choices one makes.

Our job as teachers and parents is to help young people learn to make good, positive, ethical choices and learn to take responsibility (a virtue) for their actions; to be willing to accept the negative consequences of their actions/behaviors and to do something about them—being responsible.

Sir Josiah Stamp writes:
“It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”

Joan Didion, American journalist, notes that:
“Character is the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – it is the source from which self-respect springs.”

And Denis Waitley, speaker/writer:
“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”

Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Education Resource Center, SOLES
January 2019 Blog