Character education is part of the curriculum in most American schools today. It involves teaching students to understand ethics and to lean into those values as they interact with other students and members of the local and world community.
Character is the product of human ethics, i.e., the code of conduct based on certain core values.
These core ethical values are sometimes described as the six pillars of character, which include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. They help to create a positive school climate, making school environments safe places where students are supported since brain development flourishes when children feel emotionally and physically safe, where they are with caring adults, and when they are challenged as they learn.
Character development programs in schools aim to strengthen student traits that exemplify moral virtues that help them be their best selves. They also support growth in terms of student performance via qualities like confidence, organization, self-discipline, and diligence that help them to do their best in their work. Further, character education focuses on the intellectual character of students; it encourages students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers who are motivated and committed to learning through intellectual autonomy and open-mindedness. And character education programs in schools also seek to help students round out their civic character, so they can be good citizens of their school communities and society at large, demonstrating the ability to engage in civil discourse and to lead or be part of a team.
“Character Education…Our Shared Responsibility”
U.S. Department of Education
Focusing on character education can help students achieve great things academically; students become motivated and committed to learning independently and develop a growth mindset. It also helps students become able to demonstrate self-awareness and self-management, to be socially and situationally aware, and to make responsible decisions. Character education in schools can help students ethical and responsible individuals who care about other human beings.
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