Education has often had a secondary goal of teaching children to be good, or of good character. In America, character education has had a long history with early textbooks containing a high quantity of moral study material that children were expected to learn and follow. At the time, much of this type of moral education was based strongly on religion. The focus on good character as a part of educational practices went through a change during the mid-20th century and became less prominent in public school systems. This was largely due to the separation of the church and state. As a result, some feel that student’s education in terms of grades suffered as problems with discipline and poor behavior increased.
Character education began to make a comeback during the 80s, minus the religious aspects regarding good character and morality, and continued to become increasingly popular in the 90s. Today, teaching children how to behave in a manner that is consistent with having good character is common part of many educational programs and is mandatory in some school systems and states.
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Character education is defined as a type of education that teaches children good character traits, or virtues. These are traits that will help them to make the right decisions during their youth on into adulthood. In addition, these are traits that will make them better members of society. Traits that are commonly taught as a part of character education include responsibility, compassion, honesty, perseverance, respect, and courage. Other traits that may be included are self-discipline, integrity, and even patriotism. Many people feel that teaching character education is important, particularly in today’s world. This is, in part due to the nature of today’s society.
With images of violence in movies and games, crimes in schools and in society in general, children are not always exposed to the values that help them to build a strong moral character and be the type of person that benefits his or her community. By participating in character education, children are being taught to make the right choices when it comes to their actions and words. It can have a positive effect on issues that face children and teens today, such as teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse, and bullying. In addition, students may also see an improvement in their performance in school as a result of lessons learned from this type of education.
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- Character Education Partnership
- Character Ed.net
- Character Education: Creating a Framework for Excellence
- Creating a Positive Climate – Character Education
- National Character Education Center
- Character Counts – Free Teaching Tools
- Arizona Character Education Foundation
- What is Character Education
- Michigan 4 – H Youth Development: Character Education
- Elkin City Schools: Character Education Program
- Character Education Ideas!
- The Giraffe Heroes Project
- Center for Character & Social Responsibility
- The Six Es of Character Education
- The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
- Crossroads of Character
- Character Education – Character Critters
- Character Education Resources Page
- Character Educational Interventions: Benefits for character Traits, Behavioral, and Academic Outcomes
- Kids of Character
- GoodCharacter.com: Character Education: Free Resources, Materials, Lesson Plans
- About the Six Pillars of Character
- General Information PDF: Character Education Resources for Everyone
- Building Character Education in Your Community
- Education Week: Character Education
- Character Counts! Trustworthiness Pillar Activity Quickies – Elementary
- Character Education Suggested Activities for the Classroom
- Character Education Activities for K-2
- West Virginia University: Character Counts – Responsibility
- University of Missouri eThemes: Character Traits – Responsibility
- Heroes of Character: Parenting for Character
- Developing World Citizens of Good Character
- Freedom Forum: Character Education
- The Learning Community: Tips for Parents – Character Education
- Education.com: Character Education: Good Hearts Lead to Good Grades
- The Center for Social and Character Development: Instilling Character in Students Who Learn Differently
- Internet 4 Classrooms: Character Education Lessons
Although this type of education may take place in schools, it is also the responsibility of the people that are involved in the child’s life. This includes the child’s parents, family members, mentors, and any adult that is seen as an authority figure. Character Education can begin early, even before children begin school. Parents can do this by teaching through example and conducting themselves in a manner that displays their values and positive character traits.
Last Updated On: April 9, 2014