Dynamic Leadership, Character Education Form New FCS Class

Article excerpt

Gilmer High School

ELLIJAY * GA

Students in my classes who also join FCCLA and become involved in chapter activities learn more than those who do not. I have witnessed this each year I have served as an FCCLA adviser. My goal was to expand the learning opportunities to an ever larger group of student members in an increasingly effective way. To accomplish this, I created a leadership class for our FCS department.

The class, Family & Consumer Sciences Issues & Applications, focused on family and community action for improved quality of life. It included in-depth laboratory experiences, service learning activities, and the development of character and leadership skills. Enrollment was limited to FCCLA officers and leadership team members who planned, organized, and managed chapter activities.

Each of the leadership team members studied the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens (Covey, 1998), worked through the series of lessons on the 6 pillars of character for teens-trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship-put out by the Character Counts! Coalition (www.charactercounts.org), and carried out a variety of activities designed for team building. Each Friday during class business meetings, a greater number of students than ever before learned parliamentary procedure, experiencing how an adult organization makes its decisions instead of just practicing the skills.

The class integrated several areas of educational reform as stated in the No Child Left Behind legislation of 2002. The use of technology was greater than it was in all of my other classes. The study of parliamentary procedure provided in-depth experiences in civic competence. FCCLA national programs like STOP the Violence and Student Body addressed critical issues. Character education was clearly woven through the class, and in all of the projects, students gained experience in working with their families and community. …