Teaching Virtues and Character in the Classroom
Due to the fact that many children come from rough neighborhoods filled with violence and self-destruction, it is imperative that we teach good character and virtues in the classroom. Such examples include empathy, moral reasoning, and self-control, responsibility to us and to others. We must not waiver since the teacher cannot do it alone. It should be the motto and policy of the school to implement these with support from the Superintendent down to the teachers and supporting facility while getting parents on board.
According to Kohn (1997):
At weekly public ceremonies, certain children receive a leaf that will then be hung in the Forest of Virtue. The virtues themselves are "not open to debate," the headmaster insists, since moral precepts in his view enjoy the same status as mathematical truths (para. 8).
Kohn sees that if the virtues are not open to debate, all students will be required to follow the same rules and responsibilities which infuse the core virtues he instills.
The problem of rewarding good behavior to build good character and virtues according to Kohn (1997) is that children will start competing for the reward and forget about what good deeds are all about. Kohn (1997) continues by stating: “In general terms, what the evidence suggests is this: the more we reward people for doing something, the more likely they are to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward” (para. 12). Due unto others as you would want done unto you. Kindness, consideration, respect, honest are what parents, teachers and mentors all hope for developing children with good character and virtues. However, we hope that teaching students good character and virtues does not get undermined by major family character flaws at home.
According to Lickona (1991), “In San Ramon, California, three elementary schools have participated in what is very likely the most ambitious, well-researched values education program in the world: the Child Development Project (CDP)” (p. 25). It seems that Hewlett Foundation donated a $1 million dollar per year grant in which the CDP is using the funds to develop and implement values that include:
(1) cooperative learning; (2) using children’s literature to develop empathy and understanding of others; (3) exposing students to a variety of prosocial examples: (4) involving students in helping relationships (e.g., cross-age tutors and buddies); and (5) developing discipline, aimed at fostering students’ moral reasoning and self-control. Being a proponent of teaching good character and virtues, it appears that the most important basic values the CDP is implementing is teaching empathy through children’s literature and sound, basic prosocial relationship building. Many students come from rough neighborhoods where having empathy is not part of their upbringing and thought process. By teaching a child early through illustrations and examples, the child will have a better chance of understanding what is good character and acceptable behavior in society.
For more educational articles see: https://knoji.com/individualized-education-plan-for-a-student-with-cerebral-palsy/