Character education lesson plans must be structured as top-notch, effective sales campaigns to make moral gemstones irresistible to young people.
In Part One of this article, we considered three ineffective types of character education lesson plans: lectures, discussions, and role-playing. As we continue our examination of character education lesson plans, we want to flip over the coin. We want to look at sales campaigns that are not ineffective, but effective.
Character education lesson plans must be exciting, but where can you find such excitement? Character education lesson plans must effect sweeping behavioral change, but how can you achieve such total transformation?
Effective Sales Campaigns
Character education lesson plans need to follow the layout of good sales campaigns.
I read recently that an effective sales campaign has three parts. Let me show you the first of those three parts, and help you apply it to your character education lesson plans.
PREPARATION: Top sales people will tell you that the first step in every successful sales campaign is preparation. You don’t just grab a sample box and wander down the street looking for customers. You work out the details. The same is true of character education lesson plans. You need to prepare by working out the details. Sit down at your computer, creating a file of ideas and plans. I recommend that, while you are creating that file, you have several sheets of paper on your desk for recording ideas that come to you while you prepare. If you prefer computer notes, simply open a couple of extra note pads on your screen where you can write or copy/paste information. Then, like a commercial sales campaign writer, begin your character education lesson plans with these points:
• Product: What is it, exactly, that you intend to sell to your students? Will you sell love, courage, integrity, respect, and responsibility? List your products. How much of each will your character education lesson plans need to sell to achieve the total transformation you want in their behavior? Will you be content to sell each student one microscopic gem of compassion, or do you plan to sell the largest sizes possible of that sparkling jewel? Put it in words and record it in character education lesson plans as a product goal. Write it as an affirmation: “I will sell courage of convictions!”
• Technique: How will you, with your character education lesson plans, do the actual selling of moral gemstones? What technique will you use to make teenaged students eager to own a huge rock of responsibility? You cannot use an identical technique to make elementary students want honesty. What sales method will you use with them? What technique would you use if you were selling puppies – video games? Is that technique appropriate for selling gemstones such as character traits?
• Approach: First impressions are important in everything, including character education lesson plans. If you do not “get in the door” of a student’s mind, you won’t sell anything. Students don’t let just anybody enter that door, of course. Students learn from the first minutes of your first class whether you believe in what you have to sell. If you’re going to get a foot in the door, you’ll need to write down your approach. Include appearance. Plan to dress as though this is the most important class in your curriculum – it is! Make notes on attitude, too. Approach your character education lesson plans with the attitude that this subject takes priority over others – it does!
• Warm-up: Character education lesson plans must help you form a good relationship with your listeners. You should never become a buddy, or descend to students’ level. You are, after all, a professional educator, no matter your title. However, you will need a trusting, professional relationship in order to sell your moral gemstones. The first of your character education lesson plans for a school term should ask a lot of open-ended questions. Write into your character education lesson plans notes that let your students do most of the talking, with no endeavor on your part to set them straight. You can afford to spend an entire session on nothing but warm-up, since it will make students more willing to listen to later presentations of what you are selling. Create lists of questions during preparation of your character education lesson plans. Initial questions should be personal, and not linked visibly to moral values. Ask what they are studying in school; what their favorite subjects are; what they want to do as adults. If someone mentions an occupation about which you know little, admit that and ask for a brief explanation of what it entails. Character education lesson plans that include warm-up soften your listeners for later “selling” efforts.
Character education lesson plans structured as top-notch, effective sales campaigns will make moral gemstones irresistible to young people. In the third of this three-part series, we will round out the remaining two points that such character education lesson plans need.