The Importance and Influence of Role ModelsBy
How do we as public educators view the idea of being a role model for our students? Does our language, dress, gestures, compassion for others, responsibility, and general integrity make a difference to our students?
You will not be surprised to learn that many “experts” in the education world give a resounding Yes to this question.
From the Arthur Agee Role Model Foundation, “Role models are important because they increase a child’s self-esteem, help them to build morals and positive values, teach children to set attainable goals, and provide direction for students in achieving their goals. Most importantly, role models provide examples for children to follow, showing them that their dreams and goals can be realized.”
Dr. Mike Moses, former Commissioner of The Texas Education Agency,
when endorsing “Building Good Citizens for
Lance Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France gave this advice to a friend who was preparing for a press conference, following his friend’s very inappropriate behavior on the playing field. After advising his friend to remove his cap (which the young man was wearing backwards), Armstrong said, “How you talk and look and conduct yourself, fortunately or unfortunately, matters.” In other words, he said, as athletes and public figures, we are role models to young people.
Consider the local or national news related to the behavior of too many of our young people, as you read findings of a recent survey of several thousand middle and high school students. They were asked to name their “Biggest Hero (Role Model). A shocking 24% of those students said “No one”! Educators were cited by just 3.2% of respondents as a hero or role model. Who is giving the guidelines for successful living to our young people? Who is modeling for them? Who is advising them on appropriate language, or general behavior? In too many instances, according to the above survey – No one! This is unacceptable.
Is there a relationship between student behavior and having a role model in a young person’s life? Statistics strongly suggest there is an obvious connection.
Modeling makes a difference.
If we, as educators recognize the importance of integrating the character education message into the school day we will, sometimes almost by accident, become the role model our students so desperately need. As we emphasize responsibility, for instance, with our students, we will be conscientious about our responsibilities – to be at the door to greet our students, be prepared with materials for class, and be consistent in our treatment of all our students. We will show our responsibility as a model for students.
Role modeling is needed now more than ever! Societal changes have given educators a marvelous opportunity to positively influence our students. Some of our young people come to us with a strong set of values, some with ill-defined values systems, and some with little or no concept of positive values.
We, as professional educators, can make the difference in the direction these lives will take by our emphasis on being the best role model we can be.
It is up to us to continue to make the difference!
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.