The end of knowledge is wisdom
The end of culture is perfection
The end of wisdom is freedom
The end of education is character.
What is Character Education?
- Character Education is the deliberate effort to develop virtues that are good for the individual and good for society.
- These virtues are what people need to be good citizens - respect, good judgement, honesty, empathy, caring, and self-discipline.
- Character Education would mean that the teaching of these virtues is woven into the curriculum. There is no Character Education “program”. It is not a subject. It is not an add-on.
- Who decides on what values to teach? The answer is the school community.
- Key goals of Character Education are clear - higher academic achievement, enhanced employability and safe schools.
- The school continues what parents and religious communities have hopefully begun in the home.
- Schools with Character Education programs produce students with better behaviour, better academic performance and better morale - they report less tardiness, less truancy and have fewer discipline problems.
“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King
7 Keys to School Character Education
- How people treat the child. Is the child treated benevolently and with respect?
- How significant others treat other people in the child’s presence. Cleaning up our acts and walking the talk is necessary for Character Education to be effective.
- Schools need to expect good character of all its members. Character needs to be a clear priority and expectation for all the stakeholders within a school.
- We must espouse positive character. We must practice what we preach, but also preach what we practice.
- We must provide opportunities for children to practice good character. This will involve perspective taking, critical thinking and conflict resolution as well as peer mediation, student self-governance and charitable activities.
- Students need opportunities to reason about, debate and reflect on moral issues within the curriculum. We must work to have students focus on issues of character and morality.
- Parents should be actively and positively involved in the school’s Character Education efforts. Parents are the primary influences on children’s character development.
Marvin Berkowitz,The Science of Character Education (2002)