The explicit teaching of character traits supports students’ social and emotional well-being as well as their cognitive growth. By establishing a guiding framework, a set of character traits, students have a structure to learn from their mistakes and to make quality decisions allowing them to engage in learning activities more fully, build positive relationships and contribute to the school community. The teaching of character traits creates conditions for a set of core shared values to flourish and in turn shape the development of life skills, define a positive school climate, and generate a feeling of safety as prerequisites for student learning.
Years of educational research on non–cognitive skills such as trustworthiness, caring, respect, responsibility, and fairness, demonstrate these character traits are much more powerful determinants in producing success than simply highly developed cognitive skills. Character is an essential factor in personal and professional achievements and therefore requires educators to integrate the teaching of core character traits into a variety of student learning experiences. These traits are at the root of student academic success, living independent fulfilling lives, and becoming active agents for productive social change.
The intentional work to promote shared values based on character traits assists in developing attitudes and behaviors to form the life skills needed to be ready for further academic studies and, which in the future can be applied to professional situations. These values permeate school life, including co-curricular activities and interpersonal relationships creating a pervasive sense of community fostering positive relationships and healthy socio-emotional development.