Schools add ‘effective habits’

The principals and teaching and support staff at Christ-King, Mother Teresa and Theresetta Catholic schools say they’re excited

A poster at Christ-King Catholic School in Stettler shows off one of the tenets of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

A poster at Christ-King Catholic School in Stettler shows off one of the tenets of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

The principals and teaching and support staff at Christ-King, Mother Teresa and Theresetta Catholic schools say they’re excited to offer a new three-year leadership and life-skills-enhancing program at their schools.

Dr. Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is slated to be implemented at East Central Alberta Catholic Separate Schools three southern schools at Stettler, Halkirk and Castor this school year.

All staff participated in a three-day learning session about the program at Castor, just prior to the new school year.

Theresetta principal Brian Pedersen learned of the program from an Edmonton school and suggested it be implemented locally. About six years ago, Joseph Welsh School in Red Deer initiated the program. It’s believed to be the first school to do so in Alberta. More than a 1,000 schools are now involved with the program.

“The program inspires greatness in students and finds leadership qualities in all children,” said Veronica Pinkoski, the principal at Christ-King in Stettler and Mother Teresa in Halkirk.

Pinkoski said local teachers are learning the program and introducing it initially by using the language of the Covey program in a vocabulary students can understand.

The principals and teaching and support staff at Christ-King, Mother Teresa and Theresetta Catholic schools say they’re excited to offer a new three-year leadership and life-skills-enhancing program at their schools.

The local students are making posters depicting the seven habits — an exercise that makes them feel more involved.

Franklin Covey facilitator Tom Hewlett from Phoenix, Ariz., plans to meet with the Stettler and Halkirk teachers on Sept. 21 to offer guidance in implementing the program, which will be fully implemented after that date.

“We are very excited to introduce the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People to our students,” said Theresetta principal Brian Pedersen.

“The program is designed to allow the students to find their own leadership skills and prepare our students for 21st Century thinking. In our ever-changing and diverse world, students are encouraged to not only learn the curriculum, but to gain necessary skills to thrive when they graduate.”

Pedersen said skills learned will include communication and teamwork, honesty and integrity, self-motivation and strong work ethic, organizational and technology skills, and encouragement of creative thinking.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People — are listed as follows, with the Covey version outlined first and a “student-appropriate” version in italics:

Habit 1: Be Proactive.

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

I am a responsible person. I take initiative. I choose my actions, attitudes and moods. I do not blame others for my wrong actions. I do the right things when no one else is looking.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind.

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. Create a mission statement.

I plan ahead and set goals. I look for ways to be a good citizen.

Habit 3: Put First Things First.

Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than on urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated on in Habit 2.

I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow my plan. I am disciplined and organized.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win.

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

When conflicts arise, I look for third alternatives. I balance courage for getting what I want with consideration for what others want.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood.

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. That creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their viewpoints.

Habit 6: Synergize.

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modelling inspirational and supportive leadership.

I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along well with others, even with people who are different than me.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw.

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.

I take care of my body by eating right, exercising, and getting sleep. I take time to find meaningful ways to help other people.