Presentation on theme: "Moral Character and Character Education"— Presentation transcript:
1 Moral Character and Character Education Module 2BeginningDefinitions: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 PreventionLet’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 InoculationTo 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 EducationCharacter 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.
6 The Search Institute EXTERNAL ASSETS INTERNAL ASSETS Asset Type40 Developmental AssetsSUPPORT1 Family Support2 Positive FamilyCommunication3 Adult Relationships4 Caring Neighborhood5 Caring School6 Parent Involvementin the SchoolEMPOWERMENT7 Youth Valued8 Useful Roles Youth9 Service to Others10 Youth Feels SafeEXTERNAL ASSETSBOUNDARIESANDEXPECTATIONS11 Family Boundaries12 School Boundaries13 NeighborhoodBoundaries14 Adult Role Models15 Positive PeerInfluence16 High ExpectationsCONSTRUCTIVEUSE OF TIME19 ReligiousCommunity20 Time at home17 Creative Activities18 Youth ProgramsWe 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 AchievementMotivation22 School Engagement23 Homework24 Bonding to School25 Pleasure ReadingCOMMITMENTTO LEARNINGPOSITIVEVALUES26 Caring27 Equality and SocialJustice28 Integrity29 Honesty30 Responsibility31 RestraintINTERNAL ASSETS32 Plan/Decision Making33 InterpersonalCompetence34 Cultural Competence35 Resistance Skills36 Conflict ResolutionSOCIALCOMPETENCY37 Personal Control38 Self-Esteem39 Sense of Purpose40 Positive View ofPersonal FuturePOSITIVEIDENTITYThese 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.