Journal Reading #1 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Journal Reading #1

-- Anonymous, December 01, 1998


Character Education Makes a Difference, by Esther F. Schaeffer, Principal, Nov. 1998, pages 30-32.

Can schools do anything to mitigate against the horrors of school shootings and other violent acts? This journal article expresses the idea that there are steps that schools can take that can reduce the likelihood of violent acts occurring and also help provide relief for children who feel that they are ready to explode.

The founders of education in almost every state have recognized that like academic development, moral and social development are essential to a childs education. This requires deliberate action devoted to creating environments where adults and children learn to assume responsibility for themselves and each other, build trust and understanding, and act honestly. These efforts are referred to as character education.

The point of character education is to surround students in an environment that exhibits, teaches, and encourages practice in the values our society needs so that our children not only internalize them, but make decisions and act in accordance with them.

In 1997, The Character Education Partnership received nearly one hundred recommendations from educators and community leaders in an effort to identify schools of character. Of these the list was winnowed down to ten schools that would illustrate that character education, when carried out well, could work across a wide spectrum of school and community environments. While their approaches vary greatly, these schools immerse themselves in character education. Their efforts are not small, add-on programs. They enrich their academic curriculums with discussions of values, help students internalize core values and integrate community service into the school day. These schools engaged the entire faculty early in planning their initiatives and continue to reach out to school personnel, community members, and parents.

I believe that while there are no guarantees against school violence, the efforts described in this article provide outlets for troubled children to discuss their feelings and concerns. They make students and adults more sensitive to those who might be troubled. Character education does not need crises or violence to justify itself. Effective character education creates a more compassionate society and true sense of community. It can help improve academic learning as well. Students who feel they belong want to be in school. Students who see connections between their classwork and their life experiences want to learn more.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 1998

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