AN A IN THE FOURTH R Series: CHARACTER MATTERS

By Renee Stovsky Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), October 2, 1995 | Go to article overview

AN A IN THE FOURTH R Series: CHARACTER MATTERS


Renee Stovsky Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


'R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me . . ."

In the '60s, it was the trademark of Motown superstar Aretha Franklin. In the '90s, it's the hallmark of a new trend in the nation's schools - character education.

When it comes to teaching kids right from wrong, respect and responsibility are considered by many to be the fourth and fifth R's of elementary and secondary education. Without stressing those two traits, the experts say, you can forget trying to inculcate things such as caring, cooperation or courage.

Chris Hummel, a sophomore at St. Charles West High School, never had much trouble with the first three R's - reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. Despite the fact that he almost flunked sixth grade, his teachers all describe him as a very capable kid when it comes to academics.

But Chris had a hard time with the fourth R, in terms of both self-respect and respect toward others. And his difficulty surfaced in a big way in his first year at Jefferson Middle School in St. Charles.

Here's how Chris remembers it: "I was in trouble just about every day. I didn't think much of education then . . . I wanted people to notice me as a funny guy, not a smart guy. I got suspensions, seventh hours (60 minutes of silence after school), Saturday campus corps (4 hours of school detention, spent on chores and academics). And I almost didn't get out - my grades were C's, D's, a couple F's."

"Chris had a very difficult adjustment to middle school - just following basic rules on classroom behavior, respect for authority, completing work. He was very angry and frustrated. He'd do anything to get attention - throwing books, yelling, name-calling, making inappropriate gestures," recalls his teacher, Vicky Riley. "And his negative behavior interfered greatly with his ability to learn."

So why are we telling you about Chris Hummel in an article that points up the importance of respect in building character in kids?

Fast-forward to Chris Hummel, almost 17, and ask a few of his teachers to describe him now.

Steve Stahl, St. Charles West physical education teacher and football coach: "I have nothing other than glowing comments to make about Chris. He's a hard worker, willing to cooperate with others. He's very conscientious, very self-disciplined. He exercises a great deal of restraint when it comes to displays of temper . . . he takes setbacks well. He's a real asset to the team."

Pattie Raines, algebra I teacher: "Chris was eager to please. He was very concerned about his studies and really wanted to do well. He always tried to have his homework done on time . . . if it wasn't, he'd do it late, without credit, just to get it done."

This is a story, really, about two Chris Hummels. The first is a troubled kid who spent most of his middle school years in a self-contained, behavior-disordered classroom, diagnosed as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disordered) and oppositionally defiant. The second is a high school football player and honor roll student, taking a heavy load of honors chemistry, algrebra II, geometry, German and English, and hoping for an athletic scholarship to help pave the way to college.

What happened to Chris Hummel between sixth and 10th grades to cause such a turnaround? Though no one knows for sure, Jefferson Middle School principal Donna Towers has a pretty good hunch. Chris, she says, learned to respect himself.

"Middle school can be difficult for many kids - there's lots of frustration, lots of testing limits. Chris' outbursts were the result of internal anger. I don't think he felt he was a worthwhile person. And that made it hard for him to treat other people with respect," she says.

In Chris' case, however, there was more to contend with than just hormones running rampant, as they are apt to do in early adolescence. His home life was a lot less than ideal.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

AN A IN THE FOURTH R Series: CHARACTER MATTERS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.