In Marvin Berkowitz’s Hot Topic discussion this afternoon, he didn’t hesitate to cut right to the point. “We need to make schools less like prisons,” he said. “When you think about it, it’s disconcerting how much the analogy fits. How can we create more enlightened and just schools?” Marvin’s talk focused on utilizing empowerment and democracy to accomplish this.
What's Happening in Character?
Topics: CEPLeaders, key lessons, character, character education, CEP2012, cheating, student voice, core values, what works in education, CEPForum10, character education in high school, Character Ed Infused in Curriculum
Family members of two iconic American civil rights leaders joined the CEP2012 attendees Friday to address the connection between character and taking important public action. Anthony Chavez, the grandson of Cesar Chavez, and Karen Korematsu, the daughter of Fred Korematsu, shared personal stories, inspiring visions, and core values from their experiences with these two leaders.
The following post was written by Barbara Gruener, Westwood Elementary Counselor and Lynn Hobratschk, Westwood Elementary Principal. Gruener will be presenting at the 17th National Forum on Character Education.
In a town settled by Quakers, otherwise known as Friends, Principle 10 wasn’t too difficult to sell. A small bedroom community outside of Houston, Friendswood was founded with core values in mind. But knowing about character and putting character into action are two different things, so in 1987 a group of 120 concerned citizens gathered to decide which values would be important to focus on for the students and families in the Friendswood Independent School District. And so our character education initiative began.
The following is a post from one of our Forum presenters, Sue Lee, the creator of “I Believe in Me!” a 2009 Parents’ Choice Award Winner.
If you’re reading this blog, I hope you will be in attendance at the National Forum on Character Education in San Francisco Oct 28th – 30th. Like me, you are probably very excited that character education is gaining in the educational priority lineup!
I happen to be a forum breakout speaker, my name is Sue Lee and I’m presenting Friday the 29th 2:30-3:45pm. My topic is: Thriving – The Power of Positive Emotional Development. The National Scientific Council On The Developing Child out of Harvard, states, “That emotional intelligence is hardwired into the very architecture of the brain.” As a nation and as educators we must become aware of the significance of that in regards to character education. I will be addressing that a child’s character development is not only hardwired in their brain, but the fact that character development/EQ is actually linked to the physical formation of the brain. That phenomena leads to a developing belief that our nurture becomes our nature.
“We live more and more of our lives in the splendid isolation of the Internet with all the faux connectors like Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. Getting together is increasingly a rare and important privilege.” When I read these words by Nick Morgan, President of Public Words, Inc., I found myself nodding and thinking, “That is so true.”
Here's a community where commitment to character permeates everything they do. Four schools in the district have been recognized with National Schools of Character awards, and the school district was named a National District of Character. The mayor, city council, and Chamber of Commerce have also adopted the same core values, or expected behaviors, as the school district has. It truly makes for a community of character.
Last week my brother and sister completed RAGBRAI—the bicycle ride across Iowa. From the starting point in Sioux City to the end point in Dubuque, they rode 480 miles over the course of the week. They both came home tired but euphoric. They’d had a wonderful time.
My sister couldn’t stop talking about how friendly everyone was. “Iowa has to be the most hospitable state ever,” she said. At every stop, people from all walks of life offered their homes to the bicyclists (and there were a lot of them. One count on the first day reported 20,000). The bikers camped out in their yards, slept in their basements, and shared their family rooms.
Since my first blog post generated a response from a high school teacher wondering about what the Forum will offer for educators at the secondary level, I thought I’d feature one of our PreForum workshops today: Optimizing the High School Experience.
Just take a look at the takeaways:
Participants will learn how to help secondary students...
- Develop skills in perspective taking and empathy that lead to respectful and compassionate behavior.
- Appreciate diversity and work collaboratively with their peers.
- Build safe and respectful environments in their classrooms and school.
- Develop positive relationships with their teachers.
- Address underlying thoughts and emotions that interfere with learning.
- Become self-motivated and engaged learners.
- Identify their strengths, set goals, and prepare for their future.
I’ve been on the road for CEP lately, exhibiting at a few conferences. So I’ve had the opportunity to talk to quite a few teachers, and many are feeling burned out. They’re tired of being the media scapegoats for all that is wrong with education.
There’s even a Facebook page where teachers are posting Letters to Obama where they share their frustrations and concerns about education and hope to influence the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I’ve been dismayed by much of the rhetoric, and wondered how CEP can help.