What strategies do you use that are related to your “moral purpose”? How do these contribute to your overall leadership?

“Student moral development is both implicit and inevitable in standard educational practice”, this statement came from the conclusion of Narvaez and Lapsley article Teaching for Moral Character. I believe it is an important development that students encounter. People are always impacting other peoples’ lives and beliefs through their actions.

“Teachers should understand their roles as facilitators of student self-development. Good learners have good self-regulatory skills for learning. Teachers have a chance to help students develop the attitudes and skills necessary for the journey towards expertise. This is true for moral character as well”, this is also from Narvaez and Lapsley. As teachers we facilitate our classrooms every day. We are continuously exhibiting our character, which enforces our beliefs on our students. This forces us to reflect on what we need to teach our students. It becomes our driving force and we have to continually develop our moral purpose.

My moral purpose is to persuade the students to continually give their best because they will never know where it will take them. Unless they walk the path with a great work ethic they will never really know how much farther or how much easier the path becomes. I tell them to shoot for an “A” so if they fall short they would have a “B”.

One of the strategies I use in teaching is to take small-steps through the concepts in mathematics; this is something students can feel like they made an accomplishment. With my pre-algebra class I have cover two-to-three concepts where one is challenging and the other two are practicing previous concepts. This method allows students to grow each day through practice and be stronger in previous concepts that they might have struggled with. As we work on these concepts I monitor their behavior and coax them into taking the challenge put before them.

I work on my “moral purpose” with daily studying. I listen to speakers, like Joyce Meyer, that have impacted my life and given me ideas to reflect that require change in my life. I take these insights and pass them on to my students. For instance, the latest impact I shared with my students was a question that provoked self-reflection. As a class we listed the negatives and positive responses that their peers give to each other and then we focused on this question; “Would you be friends with you?” This has help curb the behavior of many students and the environment in the class is becoming a safer place. Another topic from Proverbs that recently made an impact on my students is “For as he thinks in his heart so is he.” I address the negative self-talk and explain to them that it is “stinking thinking”. I explain to them that they are being mean to themselves with their “stinking thinking.” I then give them something positive to think about to replace the negative thought.

As students become more successful in mathematics they trust me as their leader.   They learn that their efforts are connected to their success and learn to rely in their intrinsic motivation to continue on.

My hope is that students will learn to appreciate the abundance of information they have access to with their computers. This would be ideal that these students would learn to pass this baton to the next generation and teach them to become great leaders through striving to better their lives. Michael Fullen, put it nicely in his book, Leading in a culture of Change, when he said,” an important end is to make a difference in the lives of students” (13). My end would have students step-up into leadership positions and bring the next generation with them.


Our practicing of using Google Classroom for dialogue is progressing. Alex has required full sentences when they respond to a prompt and the students are reminding each other about making sure they are writing in complete sentences. Students are going back to edit their writing to match the expectation. Next quarter it will be mandatory.

My mentee and myself have both been absent for funerals and are walking into a MAP testing week. So, the students’ schedules have been changed a little. The start of the second quarter should put us back on schedule.


Fullan, M. (2014). Leading in a Culture of Change. Somerset, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com

Meyer, Joyce. Snippet Stinking Thinking will affect your Life. Retrieved October 23, 2015 from http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=joyce+meyer%2c+stinking+thinking&FORM=VIRE2#view=detail&mid=3D14C8880525F678E20E3D14C8880525F678E20E

Narvaez, Darcia and Lapsley, Daniel K. Teaching for Moral Character. In press. Teacher Educator. Retrieved October 23, 2015 from http://www3.nd.edu/~dnarvaez/documents/NarvaezLapsleyTeacher.pdf

Proverbs 23:7 Amplified Bible. (2015) The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Ca 90631


One thought on “What strategies do you use that are related to your “moral purpose”? How do these contribute to your overall leadership?

  1. I used to ask students or athletes to give their best and would often get the response of “it doesn’t matter” or “it’s never enough”. That’s incredibly disheartening to hear from a youth that they don’t believe that their best is attainable, and worse, that in all their experiences, this has never been proven to be a worthwhile cause for effort.

    This taught me an important lesson – to listen more and to view my teaching and coaching practices from the perspective of my students/athletes. Not how I personally would feel if someone in authority over me asked me to give my best but given what I know of each student, how are they perceiving my expectations? Do they accept my reasoning that there is something better up ahead just past these difficult challenges that I am asking them to overcome?

    The reality is that not all hard-working, well-meaning, deserving students will be rewarded for giving their best, that’s not the way the educational system works, and certainly not the world of work. Both school and work encourage us to do our best but then they also have a standard that our best might not be good enough to meet. Thankfully, the world is becoming more accepting of self-taught individuals and entrepreneurs who find that their best is not something that was measured in a class but something they discovered and created on their own.


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