Supplementary Reading #2 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Supplementary Reading #2

-- Anonymous, January 11, 1999


Character Education Makes a Difference by Esther R. Schaeffer, Principal, Nov. 1998, vol. 78, #2, pp.

Character education, also known as moral and social education, incorporates intentional action into an atmosphere where young people take responsibility for their behaviors and others. This builds trust and understanding as well as demonstrating the qualities of fairness, honesty, and respect for the dignity of all others. There are various approaches to achieving this, but ultimately what happens is the student is immersed in an atmosphere which models and teaches these internal values. Through consistent reinforcement it is hoped our students will learn and use these values appropriately. Emphasis is ultimately shifted from reflecting on moral values and placed on conduct that can be observed.

A survey was done by the Character Education Partnership where ten schools were chosen because they were identified and recommended as schools of character. There were various approaches that earned these schools their mention. One approach combined specialized values with existing curriculum in hopes of providing further enrichment. Another approach has teachers using Reading and Social Studies to involve students in moral discussions by asking questions which will distinguish connections between what they read and experiences theyve encountered. Yet another approach combines their schools character education with Social Studies and reading literature according to their states academic standards. It is hoped that by connecting internal traits with figures in Social Studies and literature, students will assume more responsibility for their school culture. Other approaches involve using a standard language of responsibility, visual aids, activities to involve students, stressing appropriate behavior, and parent involvement.

Until recently there has only been a few proactive attempts (with the Dare program being one of them) in our schools to teach the necessary core values that we find imperative to creating a more desirable society. I feel providing moral intelligence is an education that should be shared by all, not just by schools. Families, religions, and even neighborhoods must also assume some responsibility if this type of education is to succeed. I feel we grow morally through social interaction and through self-control behaviors such as following school routines, managing stress, and resolving conflicts through reasoning rather than violence. Colleagues agree with me that we as teachers, and adults, have an enormous responsibility to our students. We must become role models by putting forth our best and reflect the moral virtues our students need to embody.

Providing character education does not provide assurance that a school will not experience violence. It just gives children with problems some alternatives in dealing with their feelings and concerns. Also, it makes them more considerate of others with problems. Ongoing character education, from an early age, will eventually produce a more caring society and a sense of being united. Most students have a desire to fit in and belong. When this feeling is present, students will want to be in school and want to learn what is important, as well as essential, to a society we need.

-- Anonymous, January 11, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ