As summer draws to a close and we start shopping for school supplies, our thoughts naturally turn to what our children will be taught in school this year.
I read a provocative article recently about whether there was a place for character education in our public schools. Stephanie Petit, the writer of the article, says that not everyone agrees on what “good” character is, nor exactly how to teach it, and that results are anecdotal, therefore, maybe it shouldn’t be.
According to Petit, there are several ways to teach character education from encouraging good character through posters called the “cheerleading” approach all the way to a strict environment enforcing good character called “forced-formality.”
I would like to encourage dialogue on this topic but will give you some of my thoughts here.
While teaching good character may be difficult, I think teachers influence values and behavior regardless of what they do so it might as well be done in a conscious rather than unconscious way.
I also have read articles that state if the whole school is in on the teaching of good character, this goes further than each individual teacher teaching it. I agree with this because if everyone in the school is on the same page, it creates a culture and that has more impact than the culture in one specific classroom alone.
With my background in psychology, I don’t believe that good character should be forced or punitively instituted. I believe role modeling what character is desired and then reinforcing it with words and in teachable moments has the greatest lifelong impact.
So, what do you think? Yay or nay? Or something in-between?
You can read the full article here http://edu.stemjobs.com/is-there-a-place-for-character-education-in-our-public-schools/