Reflective Summary: Character Education
Many schools teach Character Education. In general, the values that are taught are non-controversial to prevent issues within the school community. For example, honesty, helpfulness, generosity, persistence, and examples of how to behave in these ways are provided. Albert Einstein once said, “Try not to be a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Some individuals propose that character education is a misuse of school time in that it takes away from academic subjects. Others suggest that it is the responsibility of the parents to encourage character and values in children. I would like bring attention to the reality that students are spending a great portion of their day in school. Furthermore, parents in today’s society are living busier lifestyles and working demanding jobs.
In my opinion, anyone can help in character education where ever children are expected to grow a sense of moral reasoning. Without a doubt, character education can facilitate students in making good decisions in life and in being a successful part of their communities. Education can assist in career building, but undeniably character education can facilitate a better human being and helps in having a balanced approach towards life and in building a good character.
Character education should be infused into the interactions between student and adult. It should not be taught as a specific subject. Rather, it should be demonstrated by the behaviors of adults at every level of the school experience and it should be discussed as part of subject material or lessons. It is quite simple to weave messages and discussions about moral, ethical behavior and good decision making into almost anything. Each day, our young people are exposed to negative influences. Character education provides tools for our students to utilize while handling these negative influences. Within the classrooms, students are given great opportunities in learning to resolve conflicts. The classroom offers opportunities to practice conflict resolution and in turn, helps students to grow in morals.
Another important aspect of character education is that it fosters the development of responsible individuals. By teaching about good values, we are teaching our students the importance of caring for one another, honesty, and responsibility. In fostering a community of learners who carry responsibility, honesty, and care for one another, we are creating a greater learning environment for students to grow academically as well as in their moral reasoning. Teachers desire for their students to interact and engage with their communities. Character education aids in creating valuable members to those communities and society.
Many schools in the Pacific Northwest teach citizenship, respect, responsibility, self-control, trust, and fairness. Educators have a responsibility to teach students how to make good choices and decisions and to act on them. It is important to consider the many cultural perspectives, as different cultures will value different character traits. Culturally responsive teaching offers a deeper level of understanding about students and their family cultures. Any character education must be culturally appropriate for all students. Character education is important in the classroom. Schools have a duty to support students in becoming socially competent in the classroom and their communities. Students have a better opportunity to have a deeper connection to character education when it makes a cultural connection.
My own identity does, in fact, have an in pact in the classroom. I, as the teacher, help foster the culture of the classroom. My values, attitudes, and belief system have an effect on every part of my life, including teaching. My personal principles differ from my professional principles, however, they also closely relate. I was raised Christian and continue to practice Christianity today. As a Christian, I aim to glorify God. This includes honesty, seeking to follow His plans for me, and being a servant to others. Every aspect of me and my life is impacted by my beliefs. The six pillars of character (outlined by Michael Josephson) align with my own personal beliefs and values as a Christian. In my personal life, I attribute these characteristics and values as Godly. In my professional life, I attribute these characteristics and values as good citizenship, frequently accepted and expected by society and communities.
One of my favorite movie quotes is from Remember the Titans. The team captain is angry with his team for not having heart and having poor attitudes. Another team member responds with, “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” This statement rings true to my ears. My students follow my lead. The culture of my classroom is my responsibility and should be formed with intentionality.
In conclusion, I, as a parent, want for my children to grow up into well-mannered individuals and to respect others. Furthermore, I desire for my children to develop the tools necessary to make well-balanced choices, responsibility, and decisions. Character education is an important part of their education. In my opinion, Character Education is a shared responsibility. Anyone who interacts with children can and should help to facilitate their growth in moral reasoning and responsibility.