Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Moral Character and Character Education

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Moral Character and Character Education"— Presentation transcript:

1 Moral Character and Character Education
Module 2 Beginning Definitions: Moral Character and Character Education

2 What else is involved? I began by talking about relationships and interpersonal support because building character is first and foremost about relationships, particularly authoritative adult-child relationships. But in addition to interpersonal/environmental support within the home, school, and community, there are a half dozen other avenues that must be traveled if our objective is to do all we can to promote character development.

3 Crisis Intervention or Emergency Care
Deficit- or Problem-Centered Prevention Let’s begin by defining character education as a concept. It is helpful I think, to place character education into an historical context. Over the last twenty years, we have heard a lot about crisis intervention and prevention programs that target at-risk groups. Both can be viewed as belated responses since they typically come too late. Character education is true prevention in the sense that it begins from the premise that all children are at-risk. It is about prevention by inoculation. Asset-Centered Protective Prevention Inoculation To my knowledge, Dr. Peter L. Benson, founder of the Search Institute and author of All Kids are Our Kids, was the first to use the term “inoculation” in this context. The concept of “developmental assets” is the centerpiece for the Search Institute and its many community programs across the country.

4 Character Education Character education combines direct teaching and community building strategies to promote personal and social integrity and the development of moral virtues, moral emotion, moral reasoning, and other assets and qualities that make good character possible. We have moved from a rather narrow concept of character education that was standard at the beginning of the 20th century to a broader concept that accommodates and validates all approaches to moral and character education. The broadening of the definition has been the mission of many in the field including yours truly, Marvin Berkowitz, Tom Lickona, Phil Vincent, Eric Schaps, and Howard Kerschenbaum to mention a few. CEP's 11 Principles of Effective Character Education reflect this broader definition. I’m going to present three definitions. The first encompassed (1) traditional-didactic and progressive-experiential approaches, (2) moral thinking, feeling, and behavior, and (3) a distinction between personal and social domains of integrity. The second communicates that we are talking about all aspects of development including moral, social, artistic, intellectual, emotional, physical, academic, and personality. The last comes from Robert Heslep at UGA. He explains that character education includes social education, cultural education, prudential education, and civic education with moral education providing a unifying context of moral principles for the other four. It promotes moral, social, artistic, intellectual, emotional, physical, academic, and personality develop- ment through all of school life. The moral component provides a context of principles for the “non-moral” components: social, cultural, prudential, and civic. The third definition comes from Robert Heslep at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Moral Education for Americans published by Praeger in 1995.

Values Beliefs Conscience Moral Knowledge Moral Emotion KNOWING FEELING Now let’s look at each of these definitions more closely. With respect to the first, we no longer look at moral education or character education as something that should focus primarily on moral feeling, or moral knowledge, or moral reasoning, or habitual moral behavior, or one's intentions, or the actual consequences of one's actions. The reasons why are commonsensical. Moral thinking, feeling, and knowledge do not guarantee moral behavior. A healthy conscience or the will to do what is right does not guarantee moral behavior either. Behavior that appears to the casual observer to be moral may be done for selfish or immoral reasons and without essential moral intent, moral feelings, or moral reasoning. All of these things must be evident in order to conclude or know for certain than an act is truly moral. The small circles in this slide include concepts that reflect the complexity with which these various aspects of moral functioning manifest themselves. Moral will, empathy, conscience, and moral motivation involve both feeling and thinking, and perhaps knowing. Virtuous behavior and related social skills reflect behavior and prior learning plus a predictable predisposition to act morally. Values and beliefs reflect emotionally charged knowledge. Finally, prosocial attitudes and predispositions involve moral behavior and moral thinking. Will Empathy Conscience Motivation Social Skills Virtues Habits BEHAVING THINKING Intentional Moral Action & Consequences Moral Reasoning Ability Predispositions & Prosocial Attitudes Personal and Social Integrity Developed by Gordon Vessels ©

Asset Type 40 Developmental Assets SUPPORT 1 Family Support 2 Positive Family Communication 3 Adult Relationships 4 Caring Neighborhood 5 Caring School 6 Parent Involvement in the School EMPOWERMENT 7 Youth Valued 8 Useful Roles Youth 9 Service to Others 10 Youth Feels Safe EXTERNAL ASSETS BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS 11 Family Boundaries 12 School Boundaries 13 Neighborhood Boundaries 14 Adult Role Models 15 Positive Peer Influence 16 High Expectations CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME 19 Religious Community 20 Time at home 17 Creative Activities 18 Youth Programs We can also view character education as education that addresses all areas of development, especially social and moral development. The Search Institute’s concept of "developmental assets” covers several areas of child development. These forty developmental assets were identified through decades of survey research with kids in the 12 to 18 age range. The “external assets” in their scheme are essentially character education strategies from a communitarian perspective: support from home, school, and community; youth empowerment, which means they are valued, given useful roles, and given opportunities to serve others; boundaries and expectations; and constructive use of time including quality time in the family and structured activities for youth outside the home and school. The “internal assets” are character qualities, social skills, and values that must be in place, together with “external asset,” in order for a child to be inoculated against at-risk behaviors. These include a commitment to learning, positive values or character qualities such as honesty, related social skills, and a positive self-concept. 21 Achievement Motivation 22 School Engagement 23 Homework 24 Bonding to School 25 Pleasure Reading COMMITMENT TO LEARNING POSITIVE VALUES 26 Caring 27 Equality and Social Justice 28 Integrity 29 Honesty 30 Responsibility 31 Restraint INTERNAL ASSETS 32 Plan/Decision Making 33 Interpersonal Competence 34 Cultural Competence 35 Resistance Skills 36 Conflict Resolution SOCIAL COMPETENCY 37 Personal Control 38 Self-Esteem 39 Sense of Purpose 40 Positive View of Personal Future POSITIVE IDENTITY These assets were extracted from All Kids Are Our Kids by Peter L. Benson, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Dr. Benson is founder of the Search Institute. Visit their website at Their methodology and their identification of “developmental assets” is research-based.

Download ppt "Moral Character and Character Education"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google