Making Character Education Real

First and foremost, every educational system of every society should be successful in teaching the basic skills need for survival in that society, be they physical, emotional or financial. If we were to ascertain only one educational goal, it emphatically should be that, particularly through Character education. Above all, every student should come through the system knowing the most basic of all skills: how to learn, how to respond to what needs to be done right now. Anything else we might teach would be frosting on the cake, but if our character education system is failing at teaching the basic skills for living, we can barely claim that it is serving us well.

If we are to be successful, not only in our own lives but as a society that our children and their children can enjoy, we must face the fact that most of the skills we really need for living successful lives have been pretty well trained out of us by the time we've graduated.

In most cases, our natural responses for learning and responding appropriately to the world are deadened, or at least temporarily anesthetized, so that they are of little or no use to us. The current educational system hardly ever supports and builds upon our natural learning abilities. At the very least these abilities have been disregarded; at the worst, they have been battered, thoroughly deflation of our self confidence and sense of self-determination. No matter how you look at it, we are deprived of the joy of learning that is our birthright, leaving us crippled as we go out into the world in search of success. How do we even begin to recuperate what we have lost? And how do we make certain our children don't grow up in a system that not only fails to teach them the value of their natural learning abilities, but may actually undermine them? Change begins with understanding. The three kinds of learning that ought to be included in any character education curriculum are:

1. Mental learning: Memorized facts, consisting of storing certain chosen data in our brains, much as we'd file away data in a computer.
2. Physical learning: Hands-on experience, involving all the senses, engaging most of the nervous system.
3. Emotional and subliminal learning: Involving the student through feelings of joy, fear, sorrow, love, compassion, euphoria, and exultation.

For learning to occur, all three kinds must be employed in the character education curriculum; one must not be emphasized to the exclusion of the others.

Academic instruction isn't the only responsibility teachers have in today's classrooms. More and more, teachers are being called on to teach students about values ... things like making good decisions, the showing of respect, taking responsibility, choosing friends, and having a positive attitude.  It's a responsibility that could be overwhelming, considering the limited hours available in a school day, the number of kids in the classroom, and the diversity of backgrounds and personalities each child represents.
Character Education by Just Do The Right Thing" is a practical and powerful tool that equips educators to tackle values training with confidence.

By: Francis David