Character Education – What It Is and Represents in Education Today

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The concept of character education is a bit of return to education in morals and expected social behavior, which involves teaching and education beyond basic grade school education criteria in reading and math. However, the term has been character education.

Today, in many educational circles, character education refers to a set of standards being accepted nationally for inclusion in both grade and high schools. These programs are aimed at finding ways to produce responsible and caring students and young adults through a directed approach of reinforcing caring, fairness, accountability, honesty, equality and respect for others. Ideally, students then grow up to be morally-responsible and moral adults, contributing to society rather than be a detractor. Such programs are often coordinated with participation of both teachers and parents to provide a multi-front approach, reinforcing lessons both in class and at home.

For the above to work, three assumptions have to be followed by the given program in an educational setting:

  • The training will involve a directed, intentional psychological development of children included in the school programs.
  • The focus on character means training a subset of the individual’s makeup, with an emphasis on creating an acceptable, moral result in a person that will be accountable, self-disciplined and ethical in behavior.
  • The training will depend on forming and shaping psychological characteristics in students to produce desired results.

All the psychological training reference above might then put a parent on alert as to what exactly is being included in a child’s school program with character education. However, done correctly, character education would be a reinforcement of the moral teaching and character development already started at home by parents. This is why the coordination between teachers and parents is so critical for the program’s success – with the same moral training being provided both at home and at school, the success potential for training grows exponentially. With constant reinforcement, the lessons sink in effectively.

Further, with the varied environment reinforcing the lesson, some aspects are taught better at school that at home. For example, socialization with others takes on a stronger meaning the classroom. This includes working well with others as a team, not cheating, being friendly to those who are different from a child, treating everyone fairly, cooperating, and being courteous to others.

Additionally, many parents find themselves limited in what they can teach at home. This is often the case with parents who are strapped for time and resources, such as parents who both work multiple jobs, single parents raising children, and divorced parents. Having extra reinforcement at school in terms of moral training and teaching can help tremendously in raising children correctly.

Character education is still an ambiguous term for a set of programs that provide moral training advice for teachers and which range in differences from school district to school district. However, many see it as a necessity, returning to a method of social teaching that has been forgotten over the years and needs to be re-incorporated in education.

Learn more about Character Education. 

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