How do we define character?

We define character as the intrapersonal skills necessary for success. Character involves being able to monitor and direct one's own learning, as well as cultivating positive attitudes and beliefs about one’s academic abilities and identity as a learner. Character involves the skills of setting goals, maintaining attention to detail and precision, and cultivating a growth mindset. In addition, character involves personal integrity in both work and relationships. Thinking about character in these ways values how individuals think about themselves both as learners and more broadly as people.

To help students and our community understand character and to aid are students in developing these critical skills, we have developed a set of scholarly habits in alignment with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) competencies for social emotional learning.

We teach two scholarly habits unique to character and a third that crosses between character and collaboration and communication skills:

I know myself:

This scholarly habit is defined CASEL’s competency for self awareness. They define self awareness as the ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior; as well as the ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.

I am independent and resilient:

This scholarly habit is aligned with CASEL’s competency for self-management. They define self-management as the ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. In addition, effective self-management requires ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

I act with integrity:

This scholarly habit bridges across our definitions of both character and collaboration and communication. Acting with integrity is associated with CASEL's competency of responsible decision making and is defined as the ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standard, safety concerns, and social norms. In addition, to act with integrity people must realistically evaluate various consequences of actions with consideration of the wellbeing of themselves and others.