A Broader Notion of Character
This summer, I’m spending some of my time reviewing the scholarship on Character Education. Much of the research makes clear that developing character in students is more than an exercise in ethics and manners, but includes student capacity for mastering activity, as well as capacity for relating to others.
“While core ethical values remain foundational in a life of character, character education must also develop students’ performance values such as effort, diligence, and perseverance in order to promote academic learning, foster an ethic of excellence, and develop the skills needed to act upon ethical values. ”
The Character Education Partnership is proving a useful portal in helping me build my understanding. A must read for anyone interested in motivating young people towards excellence ought to read Paul Tough’s NY Times article ‘What If the Secret to Success is Failure’, and Tough is included in a terrific roundtable discussion in this hour-long video.
Stephen has asked the contributors to this site to consider What is Quality in Education? For me, for an education to be of value, it should prepare a student to lead a flourishing life. In the 21st century, it seems this has something to do with capacity for excellence (commitment, optimism, resiliency), connection to community, and sustainable models of living. The broader notions of Character Education offer some grounds for what this might look like in practice.