Character Education Literature Review

explanatory Essay
1320 words
1320 words

The basis of good character involves being respectful, honest, hardworking, responsible, caring, and understanding. Parents and teachers alike wish for their students to possess good character; but what does “character” mean in the realm of education; and whose responsibility is it to ensure that students do in fact develop good character? The Character Education Partnership (2003, pg. 1), defines good character as involving “understanding, caring about, and acting upon core ethical values”, and thus takes a holistic approach to the development of character in students by developing the “cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of moral life.” Through character education, students can grow to understand core values, learn to develop caring relationships, and grow in self-motivation; thus students grow in character as their understanding and subsequent commitment deepens through varied opportunities to apply values through everyday interactions (CEP, 2003). In theory, a student who possesses good character is a more productive, responsible, respectful, and caring student; yet the question as to whether a student with good character is a better student academically remains.

Over the past few decades, the need for character education programs in United States’ schools has been widely debated and become increasingly popular particularly at the elementary level. Several states, including California, mandate that schools in some way focus on the social and emotional development of students through character education (USDE, 2011). According to legislation in the state of California, all California teachers are supplied with a character education manual with the expectation that each teacher impress the qualities of good character u...

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...Educational Effectiveness, 3(1), 26-55. doi:10.1080/19345740903353436

Stiff-Williams, H. R. (2010). Widening the Lens to Teach Character Education Alongside Standards Curriculum. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83(4), 115-120. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

U.S. Department of Education. (2003). Character education crucial to education system, Paige says ‘culture callousness’ must end; announces technical center for character education and civic engagement. Retrieved August 20, 2011 from

U.S. Department of Education. (2011). Character education…our shared responsibility. Retrieved August 20, 2011 from

Williams, M. M. (2000). Models of Character Education: Perspectives and Developmental Issues. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development, 39(1), 32-40. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the character education partnership defines good character as involving understanding, caring about, and acting upon core ethical values.
  • Analyzes how the recent character education movement has collided directly with the increased pressure to raise student achievement, specifically in language arts and mathematics.
  • Describes how the national university library database search engines were used to acquire the literature for the review, including gale and ebsco host.
  • Analyzes how the rise of character education in the united states was followed by a decline after the character education inquiry, which concluded that direct methods were ineffective.
  • Explains that character education made a comeback in 1966 as the result of the work of lawrence kohlberg, who linked his cognitive-developmental theory of moral reasoning to the practice of implementing moral education in schools.
  • Explains that character education has been placed front and center along with raising student achievement. the u.s. congress authorized the partnerships in character education program in 1994 and the no child left behind act in 2001.
  • Opines that the lack of scientific research supporting character education's effectiveness in educating our nation’s youth will repeat itself, causing it to slowly disappear and regenerate strength.
  • Cites character education partnership's (2003), effective character education, and berkowitz, m. w., kuehn, p. and smith, k.
  • Explains berkowitz, bier, and marco's work in character education.
  • Explains haegerich, metz, and keefer, m. (2006). a critical comparison of classical and domain theory: some implications for character education.
  • Cites leming, j. s., schaps, e. lewis, and character education partnership, w. c.
  • Explains that children's social behaviors as predictors of academic achievement: a longitudinal analysis. school psychology quarterly, 17(1), 1-23.
  • Cites romanowski, m. h., rudd, a. & stoll, s.
  • Describes sherblom, s. a., marshall, j. c. et al. (2006). the relationship between school climate and math and reading achievement.
  • Explains that skaggs, bodenhorn, et al. (2006). relationships between implementing character education, student behavior, and student achievement.
  • Explains the impact of a social-emotional and character development program on school-level indicators of academic achievement, absenteeism, and disciplinary outcomes: a matched-pair, cluster-randomized, controlled trial.
  • Explains stiff-williams, h. r., and clearing house: a journal of educational strategies, issues and ideas.
  • Explains that u.s. department of education has announced a technical center for character education and civic engagement.
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