Monday, December 6, 2010

Building Character

WHAT: Children get out of school with much time to spare before their parents come home from work. During this time, children can demonstrate violent and aggressive behavior. Many times this behavior is associated to bullying or starting fights with other kids. Noticing this problem, the principal of the local middle has decided to start an after-school program so the students have something to do until their parents come home from work. The main goal of this program is to build character and develop good sportsmanship through physical activity. This program will allow kids to release built up energy in a positive way through physical activity. Teaching these kids the positive approach to release aggression appropriately will be a challenging process but will receive positive results overtime. Hopefully this program will increase positive sporting behavior and decrease in-school fights.

SO WHAT: Gibbons and colleagues (1995) developed Fair Play for Kids, which is a curriculum to promote character development. This curriculum showed higher scores on moral judgment, reasoning, intention, and behavior than normal physical education classes. This curriculum emphasizes respect for rules, officials, and opponents, as well as the right of all participants to play and the importance of self-control (Gill & Williams, 2008).  A follow up study by Gibbons and Ebbeck (1997) compared social learning with structural developmental strategies. The results confirmed that sports and physical activity could have a positive impact on moral growth. This being said, character development could be accomplished using these strategies.

NOW WHAT: To follow the curriculum of the Fair Play for Kids program, the first step is to respect the rules. This will involving teaching the kids about the rules of the activity and why they are the rules. Kids may not have respected rules before because they were not explained and taught why they are the rules. Next will be to teach respect for the officials. Students need to know that the officials are not out to get them and they are enforcing the rules to the best of their ability. They must understand it is not easy to be an official. Possibly having each student officiate a simply game so they can understand what is like to be the official. The next step is to teach them how to respect their opponent. Within this program the students might be playing against their friends. This will allow them to be more courteous to their opponent. Students will also be taught on sportsmanship. Sportsmanship will be the main emphasis of every activity in the after-school program. We can incorporate a sportsman of the day award that is given daily. This reward can be simple, such as a Gatorade of their choice or choosing an upcoming activity. Equal playing time will be distributed to all students as best as possible. Lastly, incorporating self-control. This has been a major problem with in-school fighting. Students will be taught strategies that if they become angered or frustrated to not lash out on another student. They will be taught ways to coop with this negative energy and ways to deal with it in an appropriate manner.

Conclusion: This after-school program is a way to keep the students in a positive learning environment without the presence of violence and aggressive behavior. This program will allow students to build character while having fun with physical activity. A program like this will ensure parents that their children are not acting mischievously while they are at work and their children are at home alone. Sportsmanship will be a vital part of this program, along with making every activity they do being fun. Without it being fun, a program like this will lose attendance.


Gibbons, S., & Ebbeck, V. (1997). The effect of different teaching strategies on moral development of physical education students. Journal of Teaching Physical Education, 17(1), 85-98.

Gibbons, S., Ebbeck, V., & Weiss, M. (1995) ‘Fair play for kids’. Effects on the moral development of children in physical education. Research Quarterly for exercise and Sport, 66(3), 247-255.

Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.