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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Topics: character, parent involvement, moral character, teachers

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.

Read More

Topics: moral character, virtues, compassion, empathy

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.

Read More

Topics: role models, character, moral character, 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. 

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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

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. 

Read More

Topics: integrity, moral character, cheating, teachable moments

‘Our journey is not complete’, either

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

Read More

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.

Read More

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