What is Character Education?
Character education is a deliberate, intentional, and systematic effort to nurture and foster in students positive, universal virtues that transcend racial, religious and socio-economic lines. These virtues or traits such as respect, responsibility, caring, cooperation and integrity are fundamental to the development of good character, It is about helping our students learn and practice character attributes which will help them not only do their best, but also be their best.
To be effective, it must be a whole-school effort. It is a shared responsibility. There is also a need for family, community and schools to engage cooperatively to encourage students' learning and maturing as social beings. Students are at the centre of all that we do.
Character education, at its best, permeates the entire life of the school as it is woven into policies, programs, practices, procedures, and interactions. It is a way of life. It recognizes that a respectful, safe and orderly school climate enhances learning. We want students to develop self-discipline and personal management skills that will make their communities, workplaces and lives the best that they can be. Together we can make this happen.
Key Beliefs and Principles of Character Development
- Cornerstone of a civil, just and democratic society
- Foundation of our publicly funded education system
- At its best, it develops the whole student (heart, head, and hands)
- It contributes to a healthy, safe and orderly school environment
- Creates a collaborative school where the teaching and learning can be the focus
- Provides high expectations for learning and behaviour
- Engages students in their learning
- Embedded in what we do
- Universal and transcends racial, ethno-cultural, linguistic, religious, gender, physical and intellectual ability, and other demographic factors
- Respects Constitutional rights, federal and provincial legislation, curriculum guidelines, and the grounds outlined in the Ontario Human Rights Code
- Strives for an ever growing depth of self-awareness, self-discipline and understanding
- All (students, staff, parents, community) share the responsibility to model the universal attributes upon which we find common ground
Why Character Education?
We live in a time of declining moral values which has recently been witnessed by pervasive violence in schools and withing our city at large. In the news we learn about disregard and disrespect for authority, dishonesty, drug abuse, apathy, violence, delinquency and we ask ourselves what can we do?
The answer is character education. Character education transmits a shared moral and ethical heritage which is crucial to preserving a civilized democratic society. The family, the school, the community, and religious institutions must all work together to instill core virtues in our youth to enhance the quality of their lives, and give them the life skills to achieve their highest potential.
It is about helping our students learn and practice character attributes which will help them not only do their best, but also be their best.