Based on the work of Thomas Lickona (1991), Ervin Staub (1978, 1979), Eisenberg amd Mussen (1989) [go to
bibliography] and others, The School for Ethical Education (SEE) promotes a whole-child model for character development. While schools often place most emphasis on teaching moral knowing, it is commonly recognized that the affective and behavioral domains of moral feeling and action are of great importance in character formation. SEE includes all three domains (knowing, feeling, and action) within workshops for the purpose of modeling teaching activities and suggesting character education strategies.
"Know the Good"
1. Teach positive core values
2. Reward positive behavior
3. Develop reasoning skills
"Love the Good"
1. Promote human value/community
2. Encourage positive role models
3. Develop perspective taking/empathy
"Do the Good"
1. Promote positive habits
2. Work cooperatively
3. Encourage service to others
Character Education and Social-Emotional Learning
Reprinted from SEE News Vol 4(3)
Character education and social-emotional learning are two distinct movements that educators are embracing with the hope of promoting positive student behavior in schools. Each movement is distinct from the other; however, they share common program elements and great promise if implemented together. Recognizing the risk of oversimplifying both fields, the following overview is suggested as an outline to encourage a linkage between advocates of character education and social-emotional learning.
Character education promotes the recognition of shared community values such as respect, responsibility, and caring. Definitions of these values are translated into observable behaviors that can describe positive character. Strategies to teach shared values and character at home, in schools, and within communities include an ethical/moral dimension. Character education thus acknowledges the existence of good and bad behavior and ethical choices. Character education challenges students, parents, and teachers to live up to agreed upon moral standards that model good character. Moral motivation is widely recognized as a strong support for character development, which also can include personal and social rewards.
Social-emotional learning also represents the understanding of shared cultural norms and how those norms translate into observable prosocial behavior. Prosocial behaviors include respectful listening and speaking skills, cooperative work skills, and peaceable conflict resolution. These skills are taught by demonstration, role-modeling and practice with the reward of social affirmation. The motivation to develop social-emotional skills is often represented to include personal success and social harmony.
Social-emotional learning minus character education can miss the benefit of ethical and moral motivation. Character education minus the emphasis of skill instruction (a strength in social-emotional learning programs) misses the opportunity to practice prosocial behaviors (good character).
One strength of many character education programs is the focus on the cognitive activities such as the integration of character lessons into academic curricula and ethical reflection which support positive character development. These cognitive lessons create an ethical and moral motivation which can have a strong affective link to the behaviors and skills so well taught by social-emotional learning programs. Together, social-emotional learning and character programs can help motivate personal and group success and the development of positive skills and character.
The linkage of character education and social-emotional learning strategies creates a powerful teaching and learning model that engages the cognitive (head), affective (heart) and behavior (hand) of a child or adult. We should encourage the integration of character education and social-emotional learning as a great way to put ethics in action.
Character based on Respect & Responsibility | Moral Knowing, Moral Feeling,
Moral Action |
The Teacher as Caregiver, Model, and Mentor | Teaching Conflict Resolution | Ethical Reflection & Conscience of
Craft | Service Learning | Cooperative Learning | Teaching Values through Curriculum | A Democratic Classroom Environment | Moral Discipline | A Caring Classroom Community
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