Character Education Links

Background and Context for Character Education
Is Character Education the Answer?
"As incidents of in-school violence become more common, and strict disciplinary techniques and increased security measures fail to control the problem, many parents, educators, politicians, and social leaders are looking for reliable methods of prevention. Is character education the answer?"
Values Education in American Secondary Schools. - by Dale N. Titus
"The decline of character education curricular programs may have been precipitated by research conducted between 1924 and 1929 at Teachers College, Columbia University...No relationship was discovered between membership in organizations which taught honesty and honest behavior. The results of this study led many educators to conclude that formal character education programs were ineffective."
An Overview of Moral Development and Education - Mary Elizabeth Murray
"Moral education is becoming an increasingly popular topic in the fields of psychology and education. Media reports of increased violent juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, and suicide have caused many to declare a moral crisis in our nation. While not all of these social concerns are moral in nature, and most have complex origins, there is a growing trend towards linking the solutions to these and related social problems to the teaching of moral and social values in our public schools. However, considerations of the role schools can and should play in the moral development of youth are themselves the subject of controversy. All too often debate on this topic is reduced to posturing reflecting personal views rather than informed opinion."
A Critique of Research Evaluating Moral Education Interventions - by Jonathan Dune (temporarily offline)
"Obviously, measuring subtle behavior is more difficult and measuring verbally expressed moral choices/reasoning is still controversial; but unless both can be done, one is left with only "overall" self-reports of students, administrators and teachers.  While these reports are a valuable piece of evidence, much more is needed to insure scientific validity and practical applicability. If the field of moral education is to claim any justification for conducting studies or any relationship with a "scientific" approach, it must do far better than in the past."
How Not to Teach Values - by Alfie Kohn
"The phrase character education also has two meanings. In the broad sense, it refers to almost anything that schools might try to provide outside of academics, especially when the purpose is to help children grow into good people. In the narrow sense, it denotes a particular style of moral training, one that reflects particular values as well as particular assumptions about the nature of children and how they learn. . .Unfortunately, the two meanings of the term have become blurred, with the narrow version of character education dominating the field to the point that it is frequently mistaken for the broader concept. Thus educators who are keen to support children's social and moral development may turn, by default, to a program with a certain set of methods and a specific agenda that, on reflection, they might very well find objectionable."


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