Character Education

Character education is an umbrella term loosely used to describe the teaching of children in a manner that will help them develop variously as moral, civic, good, mannered, behaved, non-bullying, healthy, critical, successful, traditional, compliant and/ or socially acceptable beings. Concepts that now and in the past have fallen under this term include social and emotional learning, moral reasoning/cognitive development, life skills education, health education, violence prevention, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and conflict resolution and mediation. Many of these are now considered failed programs i.e., "religious education", "moral education", "values clarification".

Today, there are dozens of character education programs in, and vying for adoption by, schools and businesses. Some are commercial, some non-profit and many are uniquely devised by states, districts and schools, themselves. A common approach of these programs is to provide a list of principles, pillars, values or virtues, which are memorized or around which themed activities are planned. It is commonly claimed that the values included in any particular list are universally recognized. However, there is no agreement among the competing programs on core values (e.g., honesty, stewardship, kindness, generosity, courage, freedom, justice, equality, and respect) or even how many to list. There is also no common or standard means for assessing, implementing or evaluating programs.

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