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
1. How people treat the child. Is the child treated benevolently and with respect?
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. We must espouse positive character. We must practice what we preach, but also preach what we practice.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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)