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WHAT IS CHARACTER EDUCATION AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT ?
July 15, 2016

SHERLOCK

Character education is at the heart of what we do

In simple words, character education is education that nurtures and promotes the ethical, intellectual, social and emotional development of individuals. It is a continuous learning process that enables young people and adults to become moral, caring, critical, responsible individuals.

Character education represents a relationship between knowledge, values and skills necessary for success in life. By knowledge, we refer to two kinds of knowledge: a) general knowledge; that is, knowledge that encompasses a wide subject range and b) specialised knowledge obtained via extensive reading and training in a particular area or field of studies. Values, on the other hand, are the beliefs and moral codes of a person or a society about what is good and bad which tend to influence attitudes and behaviours. Lastly, skills – or better life skills – are the abilities that individuals possess acquired via teaching, training, or direct experience that enable them to cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life.

SUPER

The need for character education lies in the ‘moral crisis’ found in today’s societies. Character education is important and necessary as modern societies are struggling with disturbing trends such as racism, xenophobia, violence, to name a few. Character education can help people build good character that in turn can help build good societies. Thomas Lickona, a leading expert in character education, has written extensively about the need for character education today, citing several reasons for its importance, such as:

  • There is a clear and urgent need. Young people are increasingly hurting themselves and others and are decreasingly concerned about contributing to the welfare of others.
  • Transmitting values is and always has been the work of civilization. A society needs values education to survive and thrive. Historically, this is a role shared by home, school, and faith communities.
  • There is common, ethical ground, even in our value-conflicted society.
  • Democracies have a special need for moral education because democracy is government by the people themselves.
  • The great questions facing both the individual person and the human race are moral questions. Of utmost importance: How should I live my life? How can we live with one another?
  • Character education is a doable job.

 

Have you come across the term ‘character education’ before? If so, where? How would you define ‘character education’ in your own words?

References

BENNINGA, J.S., 1997. Schools, character development and citizenship. In: MOLNAR, A. (Ed). The construction of children’s character. Ninety-sixth yearbook of the National Society for the study of Education, part two. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, pp. 77-96.

BERKOWITZ, M.W., 2003. The science of character education. In: DAMON, W. (Ed). Bringing in a new era in character education. Palo Alto, CA: Hoover Institution Press, pp. 43-63.

LICKONA, T., 1991. Educating for character: How our schools can teach respect and responsibility. New York: Bantam Books.

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS (NASP), 2003. Effective character education (Position Statement). Bethesda, MD: Author.

ROKEACH, M., 1973. The nature of human values. New York: The Free Press.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO), 1993. Increasing the relevance of education for health professionals. Technical report series 838.

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO), 1994. The development and dissemination of life skills education: An overview. MNH/PSF/WHO Geneva.

 


Category: articles


   

 

About the author

 

author6

Eva Sakellaridi is an education consultant and a researcher at the University College London (UCL), Institute of Education (IoE). She has a BA in English Language and Literature (2006), a Diploma in TESOL (2010) and a Certificate in Educational Psychology (2011). She also holds a MA in Education with Distinction from the University of Bath (2014). Among Eva’s main broad fields of interest are character education, educational psychology, school leadership and school improvement. Prior to becoming an education consultant, Eva worked in a range of public and private, preschool, primary and secondary educational organisations, universities and charities in a variety of capacities including classroom teacher, remedial teacher, student mentor, education programme manager and deputy school manager. Throughout her teaching career, she has observed that most children acquire academic skills more effortlessly and quicker compared to lifelong skills and has witnessed many and various cases of parental anxiety and concern about children’s character development and learning. As a result, Eva has always used scientific research to explore and personalise old and new pedagogical methods to empower both children and their parents.

Penelope’s Loom

 

Welcome to “Penelope’s Loom”! This is the name of our collection of educational articles that includes only research-based information on education, educational psychology and parenting, taken from sources such as scientific publications, reviews of research and government reports. Our aim is to offer our readers objective, authentic, scholarly information in a clear and simple way. If you would like to learn more about any of the themes tackled in our articles, feel free to contact us at info@ethaca.com and we will send you an e-copy of the references and/or further readings.


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