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
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