What's Happening in Character?

Maintaining the Connection Between Moral and Performance Character

Posted by David Wangaard on Mon, Dec 28, 2015 @ 14:12 PM

by David B. Wangaard, Ed.D., The School for Ethical Education

Character.org has many resources that provide a clear definition of character education and effective practices. It is not unusual, however, to find varying interpretations by educators. Specifically, the distinction between moral and performance character has created a division within the field of character education. Some educators have chosen to focus singularly on performance character such as perseverance, creativity and positive attitude with the goal to market to parents these attributes as uniquely supporting student success. While those values may be well received by parents and the public, it is important to consider why we should include moral values and sustain the connection between moral and performance character.

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Topics: character education, moral character, core values

Performance Character and How to Foster It

Posted by Eduardo Briceño on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 @ 12:09 PM

“It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there. When you read about an athlete or team that wins over and over and over, remind yourself, ‘More than ability, they have character.' ” ― John Wooden, quoted in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck

What is performance character?

Performance character is a set of dispositions that drive effectiveness, such as striving to learn and improve, having self-discipline, and persevering. It is made up of beliefs and behaviors that enable people to grow their capabilities and meet their goals in any area of life, be it school, sports, relationships, or work. It is different than moral character, which refers to moral qualities such as kindness, integrity, and respect.

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Topics: character, teachers, parent involvement, moral character

Teaching Animal Appreciation: A Pathway to Character

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

by Zoe Weil

President, Institute for Humane Education

What should character education teach students about kindness to animals?

At first, the answer to this question might seem obvious: people of good character treat nonhuman animals with respect and consideration; therefore, we should educate students to be compassionate and responsible citizens in relation to other species. Role models for good character, such as Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi, articulate clear responsibilities toward animals. Gandhi went so far as to say, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 

But it’s not that simple.

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Topics: moral character, empathy, virtues, compassion

The Kindness of Strangers: Help a Kid Gear Up for School

Posted by Sora Wondra on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 11:08 AM

By Connie Matthiessen, Associate Editor of Great Schools
(re-posted with permission)

Back to school may be the second biggest shopping season of the year, but my family usually doesn’t join the stampede. My kids aren’t big shoppers, and neither am I; besides, times are tight. Someone will inevitably need a new pair of shoes or a hoodie; I’ll pick up socks, a few shirts, the school supplies their teachers request, and leave it at that.

But I’m bracing for this year to be different. My daughter grew at least six inches over the last year, and she’s starting high school – a combination that amounts to a back-to-school perfect storm.

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Topics: character, moral character, role models, empathy

Empathy: To lead is to listen and to learn

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Thu, Jul 4, 2013 @ 14:07 PM

Thank goodness my wife opened my eyes to the importance of empathy before I became a father and a school leader. To be honest, for the first half of my life, I was so driven to achieve the task at hand that I struggled to understand why some people just couldn’t show up, get to work and do what they had to do. By definition, “empathy” is accurately understanding what another person is feeling.  If we understand the content of what the other person is saying, but cannot correctly identify the emotion that person is feeling, then we are not demonstrating empathy and we are not even aware of our deficiency. 

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Topics: CEPLeaders, Forum Speakers, National Forum, school climate, core values, parent involvement, moral character, role models, president's post, empathy

The 8 C’s of Character

Posted by Rebecca Sipos on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

 

By Ed DeRoche

There are only two C’s in “character,” but one can find many words that begin with C in describing good, positive character traits and behaviors. I’ve compiled a few C words that show the attributes of character.

1. Caring: Two important synonyms are “compassion” and “empathy.” Robert Krzaric wrote in The Greater Good’s e-newsletter that caring-empathy is one’s “ability to step into another person’s shoes, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions.” Most importantly, he notes that new research suggests that caring-empathy is “a habit we can cultivate.”

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Topics: character, character education, integrity, moral character

Lessons in Character and Integrity from Les Miserables

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 @ 12:02 PM

It seems like everyone just can’t get enough of Les Miserables.  It’s the world’s longest running musical, now seen by 60M people in 42 countries.  Along the way, it’s received 96 major international awards.  The most recent movie version is a box office smash, earning eight Academy Awards nominations.

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Topics: character, integrity, ethics, moral character, role models

What’s the Worst Part of the Lance Armstrong Cheating Scandal?

Posted by Joe Mazzola on Tue, Jan 29, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

I was a big cycling fan before the sport got popular in our country.  And, back in the day, I was a pretty serious cyclist myself--I spoke the lingo, wore the gaudy jerseys, shaved the legs, rode custom racing bikes with “Campy Record” components and I had the muscled-up quads one only gets from logging thousands of miles in the saddle. 

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Topics: cheating, integrity, moral character, teachable moments

‘Our journey is not complete’, either

Posted by Rob McManamy on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

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Topics: key lessons, leadership, integrity, moral character, school safety

Model Good Character with Eco-Friendly Holiday Gifts

Posted by Katie Hood on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

Unless your pantry closely resembles the Back to School department at your local Walmart, buying new school supplies each year is something every parent can count on. Not only does it cost money, but supplying students with paper and other school-related items can put a damper on the environment and the world's resources.

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Topics: character, what works in education, moral character, role models

Another Sports Hero Turned Fraud? ‘Say It Ain’t So’

Posted by Mark Hyatt on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 @ 10:11 AM

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Topics: cheating, character, character education, moral character, president's post

To Err is Human, to Forgive... Well, that's Character.

Posted by Rob McManamy on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

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Topics: character, moral character, CEP2012

Character Beyond the Classroom: Cesar Chavez and Fred Korematsu

Posted by Adam Williams on Sat, Nov 3, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

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. 

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Topics: character education, leadership, community of character, CEPForum10, moral character, CEP2012

When Is It Okay to Reward Children for Doing the Right Thing?

Posted by Lara Maupin on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 09:10 AM

CEP asked the experts when it would be appropriate to reward children in our latest National Schools of Character publication.

Here's what David Hulac, Marvin Berkowitz, and Russ Sojourner had to say:

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Topics: character education, what works in education, core values, moral character

Preventing Academic Dishonesty Part 3: Students & Peer Pressure

Posted by Melissa Crossman on Tue, Sep 11, 2012 @ 09:09 AM

As you sit in your crowded lecture hall and toil away at that seemingly impossible math problem, you glance down and see a peer in the next row surreptitiously looking at formulas he has scrawled on his hand. This scene sounds quite plausible to many students. Whether they’ve engaged in the behavior themselves or simply witnessed a friend or fellow student cheating, most students are familiar with academic dishonesty. It’s your job, as a moral and upright learner, to take a stand for what you believe in and do your part to combat cheating. If you fail to do so, you’ll be doing yourself and your fellow learners a disservice.

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Topics: cheating, integrity, student voice, moral character, role models

Staying in the Question

Posted by Bradley Warner on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 @ 14:08 PM

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Topics: key lessons, teachers, moral character, teachable moments

Character Education with Chess

Posted by Roumen Bezergianov on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 @ 12:08 PM

The following is an excerpt of the book “Character Education with Chess”

The King is the most valuable piece in chess. Its value is absolute because if you lose your King, you lose the game. The other pieces have a relative value which changes depending on the position and situation and are expendable. The King, therefore, symbolizes those crucial things in life that can not be bought and sold.

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Topics: character education, key lessons, Forum Speakers, moral character

Bully Prevention: Helping Kids Cool Hot Tempers

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Jul 24, 2012 @ 12:07 PM

“I tried to stay calm, but it was too late!”

“I wish I could tell when I’m about to explode.”

“Don’t keep telling me I’m going to lose all my friends because of my temper. I can’t help it.”

Your child may be more excitable or passionate by nature, but sometimes this emotional temperament can get out of control.

Though you can’t change your kid’s basic personality, you can teach him some strategies and skills to help him get along and handle intense feelings. And there are important reasons to do so.

Let’s face it, hot tempers can cause serious damage in health, relationships, school, life, as well as ruin your kid’s reputation. Unless kids learn ways to recognize their own unique danger signs of control their anger, problems are inevitable. After all, hot-tempered kids are no fun to be around.

New studies show that hot-tempered kids are also more likely to be bullied or be a bully.

All good reasons to work on this issue problem A.S.A.P.  And what better time than during the summer? Here are ways to work on bully prevention and ensure your child keeps his or her cool.

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Topics: Michele Borba, bullying advice, discipline, moral character, family, Borba Michele

Preventing Academic Dishonesty Part 2: What Teachers Can Do

Posted by Melissa Crossman on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 @ 10:06 AM

From a teacher’s perspective, cheating is both a major hassle and a serious disappointment. When students cheat, teachers must bother first with catching the cheating and then with dispensing punishment. They’ll also have to deal with feelings of disappointment in students they’d trusted as they know cheating is a demonstration of the student’s failure to follow a moral path.

 

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Topics: cheating, core values, moral character, teachable moments

Surprising Ways to Nurture Empathy in Kids

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 11:05 AM

by Michele Borba

REALITY CHECK: Empathy is the moral virtue that helps children “identify with and feel other people’s concerns.” When they do, they are more likely to reach out and respond in more caring, compassionate ways to others. Unlike genetics or appearance or most temperaments, empathy can be cultivated, and research shows that infants are already hard-wired. The best way to nurture empathy is for children to witness or experience it.

So now review the last few days: What has your child done or seen that would stretch — or shrink — his or her empathy growth?

The Power of Experiencing and Witnessing Empathy

Several years ago, our youngest son brought home a note from his teacher asking for parent volunteers to chaperone a class field trip. His teacher, Cindy Hollinger, was encouraging her students to give up their Saturday morning to participate in a race called “Lauren’s Run” sponsored by the City of Hope. The event was held in the memory of Lauren Zagoria, a three-year old child who died from cancer. Her parents, Janis and Marvin Zagoria, founded the event in her memory and honor and were committed to finding the cure for the disease that took their beautiful child from them.

Our local event was held on a large open field. Each racer would pay an entrance fee of a few dollars, and all the profits would go to pediatric cancer research. Volunteering to drive to that event was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made.

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Topics: Michele Borba, moral character, family, role models, Borba Michele

38 Parenting Practices That Build Moral Intelligence

Posted by Michele Borba on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 @ 16:02 PM

REALITY CHECK: The family is the first school of virtue.

Even in our increasingly toxic culture, parents can still have the inside track in their children’s development because parents are their children’s first and most important moral teachers. That premise only applies, though, if parents choose to use their moral influence.

Remember, children do not acquire strong character in one-time lectures, but in daily teachable moments. So take advantage of everyday moments to stretch your child’s character and there are dozens!

“You have a new friend in your classroom. How do you think he feels not knowing
anyone? What could you do to help him feel less lonely?”

“Listen to the lyrics on that CD. Do you want others to think girls should be talked
about and treated that way?”

“Was that helpful or hurtful? In our home we only do things that will build people
up – not tear them down. What will you do to make amends to your friend?”

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Topics: Michele Borba, moral character, family

When Legal Isn't Enough: Penn State's Moral Character Issues

Posted by Katie Hood on Tue, Nov 15, 2011 @ 17:11 PM

As you have probably heard by now, Penn State’s illustrious football program is in shambles following allegations that several boys were molested by Jerry Sandusky, former defensive coordinator, in a Penn State facility as part of a program hosted by the school.

The school officials’ decision not to report the assault to the police is disappointing, shocking, and unfathomable for many.

The events are not only an embarrassment to the school, but raise serious issues about the school’s quality of ethics in its leaders. The university fired legendary coach Joe Paterno and several other high-ranking officials since they failed to report the abuse to authorities.

A letter from Penn State University president Rodney Erickson stated his commitment to reinforce the moral imperative of doing the right thing, to lead by example, to be transparent during investigations, to respect the victims and their families, and to provide resources to help prevent future attacks.

Sadly, however, this is not the first time Penn State (and other colleges and universities nationally) has turned a blind eye to sexual offenses.

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Topics: integrity, ethics, moral character