What is Character Education?
As you may or may not know, ISB is planning on introducing a Character Education program into our school. This new program focuses on aspects of education that are becoming more and more relevant and important in today’s society - personal morals and character, and is a step towards the right direction, when discussing an educational system that prioritizes emotional wellbeing and being a good person over academic results.
As soon as I heard about this program I was intrigued, as I believe that it is the key to a brighter future and a successful society. You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you don’t have a strong moral character you can use that knowledge in ways that are harmful and unethical. That is why I decided to join a Character Education meeting with the Head or Character Education at our school, Mr Mikail, and I am here to tell you all about it.
What is “Character Education”?
By definition, character education refers to “the intentional effort to develop core values in young people that are widely affirmed across all cultures.” In other words, it’s aim is to instill certain values in students, regardless of their culture, religion, nationality, background etc. This is especially important for us as an international school, as we must aim to raise a generation of good and principled individuals, no matter where they come from.
The program is carried out in accordance with Character.org, a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington D.C. that aims to foster effective character education in schools all over the world. Character.org provides schools with the “11 Principles Framework for Schools”, a list of steps that the school can follow in order to achieve a successful character education program. These steps include: identifying your school’s core values, defining the core values comprehensively, creating a common language, providing students with opportunities for moral action, celebrating your success and evaluating for improvement.
By following these steps, the school hopes to create a holistic and thorough character education program implemented into every aspect of our education. This means that every individual that interacts with the school will be engaged with our values, from students, to teachers, IT staff, cooks, drivers, medical staff, cleaning staff and more.
The six core values chosen by the school to implement through this program are confidence, empathy, communication, open-mindedness, responsibility and respect. These have been chosen through a survey completed by teachers, parents and students in which they all identified the most important values to them. This allowed the school to consider various perspectives and choose values that encompass everyone’s beliefs. The school defined these values in a document that teachers, parents and students contributed to once again, creating a common language around these six values.
What will be done?
Ideas are still blooming regarding the exact steps of the implementation of this program. The school is actively working on many methods to involve our core values in our everyday activities as thoroughly as possible, and in a way that is fun for students. You can expect informative posters to be placed around the school, as well as awards such as certificates, medals and badges to be given out to students that prove to be carrying out these values.
A portfolio software is also in the works, similar to ManageBac, which the year 12s and 13s would already be familiar with. In the software students can log activities that prove that they follow the core values of the school, and receive awards based on them. Besides that, the school is open to new ideas and feedback from students in order to make this program as enjoyable and educational as possible.
I hope that you are as excited about the new Character Education program as I am. I thoroughly believe that we will see the positive consequences of such educational changes in our society in the future, and I cannot wait to see how this implementation will go. If you have any thoughts or suggestions feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the Head of Character Education, Mr Mikail Serce, at email@example.com.