Wanger and Ruch (2015) found that some character strengths contribute to positive classroom behaviours, which then lead to an increase in school achievement.
Positive psychologists identified twenty-four character strengths that are inherently valuable and contribute to positive outcomes. In this article, published in Frontiers in Psychology, the authors report on two studies conducted on 179 primary students from 3 schools and 199 secondary students from 4 schools respectively in Switzerland to examine whether character strengths are important to school success for primary and secondary school students.
They measured character strengths by the Value in Action Inventory of Strengths for Youth (VIA-Youth) and positive classroom behaviours by the Classroom Behavior Rating Scale (CBRS), which cover positive achievement-related behaviour and positive social behaviour. For primary students, achievement was obtained by teachers’ rating; for secondary students, the schools’ administration offices provided their grades. The findings showed that:
- Perseverance, prudence, hope, social intelligence, and self-regulation were positively related to positive classroom behaviour for both primary and secondary students.
- Perseverance, prudence, hope, love of learning, perspective, zest and gratitude were positively related to school achievement for both primary and secondary students.
- Perseverance, prudence and hope were associated with both positive classroom behaviour and school achievement across primary and secondary sectors.
The authors suggest the findings indicate there is a rather distinct set of strengths most relevant in schools. They also suggest further research could explore whether teachers and students value these strengths.
Source (Open Access): Wagner, L., & Ruch, W. (2015). Good character at school: Positive classroom behavior mediates the link between character strengths and school achievement. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 610.