A teen asks difficult questions about the effectiveness of character education. Worth a read and discussion with friends and students…
“Children are 25 percent of the population but 100 percent of the future. If we wish to renew society, we must raise up a generation of children who have strong moral character. And if we wish to do that, we have two responsibilities: first, to model good character in our own lives, and second, to intentionally foster character development in our young.”
This quote from the introduction of Thomas Lickona’s book, Character Matters, illustrates both the importance of character education and a possible way of teaching it. In its essence, character education is the teaching of basic morals, values, and principles which will guide people toward an ethical, well-behaved, healthy, and successful path.
Character education is important across all cultures, though the approaches might vary due to history and emphasis on different values. For example, Western character education draws upon Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle’s belief was that moderation is key in all matters of life. He emphasized reasoning to make moral choices. Similar to Aristotle, Plato placed logical reasoning as a foundation of good character; he believed that in order to be virtuous, moral human beings, we have to use reasoning to control our desires. Early Greek philosophers also taught that good character reflected independent decision making. Confucius, a central figure in Eastern thought, also emphasized reasoning and careful internal study and meditation in order to make moral choices. Eastern culture also emphasizes the value of a good teacher and following instructions, and posits the need to control desires in order to prevent disobedience, rebellion, and deceit.Source: kidspiritonline.com