What is Character Education and How is it Incorporated Into the Classroom?

Character education in schools focuses on the role of the educator in developing moral and ethical behavior in their students. Due to the increase in school violence since the 1990s, character education programs have become gradually more important to school administrators. Teachers are trained to define and identify important character traits. In this training, educators are taught to explore the different theories about moral development.

Teachers are essential to the development of character education in schools. With lesson plans, vignettes, and properly prepared curriculums, teachers can apply the concepts that instill character development in their students. Teachers can use these lessons in character education programs while also serving as a respectable model for their students. Beyond lesson plans, it's also effective for teachers to develop and implement classroom activities that promote character development as well.

Character education is not only beneficial in a school environment; it's also useful in the broader community. If the entire community gets involved with character education programs, it will make character education stronger and more effective. The entire school, parents and the community should have an active role. The need for character development in schools goes beyond just solving problems that might arise between students, it can also help people better resolve their own troubles without acting out.

The purpose of character education in schools is to create a moral community in the classroom and outside of the classroom. Teachers have the role of fostering the character of the students, and it's important for the educators that have such influence, to explore the historical perspectives on education.

Within the classroom, conflict resolution should be kept in mind when studying controversial issues. For students to discuss issues in a non-aggressive manner, teachers should first establish guidelines to keep the discussions diplomatic and establish moral ways to discipline students who may become aggressive. When conflict arises, conflict resolution techniques can help develop character as well.

The involvement of parents and the community is vital because whatever discipline, rules, and consequences for breaking the rules that are enforced within the classroom should be practiced and carried out in other areas of the student's life. If every authority figure is not on board with the same system of rules, consequences, and moral discipline, students become confused and may not respond well to character education in schools. It goes beyond the student, because the main goal is to develop a moral culture, not just a moral student.

Overall, a character education program should teach students how to connect and care for each other. Character development should help teachers improve the quality of group interaction, promote commitment, understand how to respond when students don't know the answer, and how to maintain moral authority. Character development is important because it helps teachers, students, administrators, and parents learn how to deal with issues effectively and filter through to the important lessons that their children need to be taught. If schools develop these programs correctly, there can be a very positive outcome for the entire community.

Vince Welsh, of Teacher Education Institute (TEI), offers rigorous, graduate-level professional development courses for K-12 classroom teachers. For more about TEI, character education in schools, character education programs, visit http://www.teachereducation.com
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