Teaching character is always a tightrope. In our school, we are lucky to have the basis of Christian faith as a jumping off point for our conversations, lessons, moments along the way. This month we have a focus of the trait of Courage. For grades 2 and 3 students are looking at courage through the lens of composers. Second grade is studying Beethoven and Third is studying Handel.
The students in Third grade watched a realistic fiction piece, “Handel’s Last Chance” and are now taking an in-class field trip to the Handel Learning Center. One of their tasks is filming their response to the question “How did Handel or Jamie (a character in the film) show courage?” There is a scene in the film about stealing a chicken and some of the children have identified this as a courageous moment in Jamie’s life. Oh dear me! After a discussion about the meaning of courage (again) and whether or not stealing is ever allowed I find that our conversation needs a bit more de-briefing. Some of the kids made a really good point about how the character was poor and hungry so he stole to feed his family. This leads us to that ever present question of is stealing ever ok? Who knew such ethical crises could occur in the mind of an 8 year old.
I’m fascinated by their deep compassion for the character but at the same amazed at their inner struggles to justify stealing. I look forward to watching their videos and once they are complete, I will certainly post it here for you.