Terminology[ edit ] "Character" is one of those overarching concepts that is the subject of disciplines from philosophy to theologyfrom psychology to sociology —with many competing and conflicting theories. Character as it relates to character education most often refers to how 'good' a person is.
To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. The disheartening signs are everywhere: As we become more aware of this societal crisis, the feeling grows that schools cannot be ethical bystanders. As a result, character education is making a comeback in American schools.
Early Character Education Character education is as old as education itself. Down through history, education has had two great goals: When struggles eventually arose over whose Bible to use and which doctrines to teach, William McGuffey stepped onto the stage in to offer his McGuffey Readers, ultimately to sell more than million copies.
McGuffey retained many favorite Biblical stories but added poems, exhortations, and heroic tales. While children practiced their reading or arithmetic, they also learned lessons about honesty, love of neighbor, kindness to animals, hard work, thriftiness, patriotism, and courage.
Why Character Education Declined In the 20th century, the consensus supporting character education began to crumble under the blows of several powerful forces.
Darwinism introduced a new metaphor—evolution—that led people to see all things, including morality, as being in flux. The philosophy of logical positivism, arriving at American universities from Europe, asserted a radical distinction between facts which could be scientifically proven and values which positivism held were mere expressions of feeling, not objective truth.
In the s, a worldwide rise in personalism celebrated the worth, autonomy, and subjectivity of the person, emphasizing individual rights and freedom over responsibility. Personalism rightly protested societal oppression and injustice, but it also delegitimized moral authority, eroded belief in objective moral norms, turned people inward toward self-fulfillment, weakened social commitments for example, to marriage and parentingand fueled the socially destabilizing sexual revolution.
Finally, the rapidly intensifying pluralism of American society Whose values should we teach? Public schools retreated from their once central role as moral and character educators. The s saw a return of values education, but in new forms: In different ways, both expressed the individualist spirit of the age.
Each approach made contributions, but each had problems. Values clarification, though rich in methodology, failed to distinguish between personal preferences truly a matter of free choice and moral values a matter of obligation.
No one knows yet how broad or deep this movement is; we have no studies to tell us what percentage of schools are making what kind of effort. But something significant is afoot. This diverse assemblage drafted the Aspen Declaration on Character Education, setting forth eight principles of character education.
Members include representatives from business, labor, government, youth, parents, faith communities, and the media.
A Handbook on Teaching Character, Academics, and Discipline—that make the case for character education and describe promising programs around the country. A new periodical, the Journal of Character Education, is devoted entirely to covering the field.Read our article How to Do Character Education: An Overview.
The BIG PICTURE, made clear and simple. You are a character educator. Whether you are a teacher, administrator, guidance counselor, custodian, or school bus driver, you are helping to shape the character of the kids who interact with you.
The Rebirth and Retooling of Character Education in America By Russell J. Sojourner, Ph.D. participation in public life. In the s, schools taught elements of good character and a more ethically rigorous and non-relativistic approach to moral education emerged when Harvard psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg () argued that the goal of.
With a one-year subscription, you would receive online access to our complete Proven Results · Daily Messages · Professional Support · Available Online. The Return of Character Education. Besides making full use of the moral life of classrooms, a comprehensive approach calls upon the school as a whole to: Moral, Character, and Civic Education in the Elementary School.
New York: Teachers College Press. Hewlett, S. (). Character Education: An Historical Overview; Each of the six character traits are used within our CHARACTER COUNTS! program to help instill a positive school climate for students and a “culture of kindness”, making schools a safe environment for students to learn.
Aug 22, · Reviving Character: Diversity, Conformity, and the Moral Life I recently finished up James Davison Hunter’s book, The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age of Good and Evil, which provides a marvelous critique of American moral education, chronicling our gradual descent from a focus on virtues and eternal truths into a modernistic.