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“To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society,” Theodore Roosevelt once said. In his book, Four Dimensional Education: The Competencies Learners need to Succeed, Author Charles Fadel notes the three commonly cited reasons for character education are: “to build a foundation for life-long learning, to support successful relationships at home and in your community, and to develop the personal values and virtues for sustainable participation in a globalized world.”
Character education fosters the development of moral and ethical citizens by teaching them good values. Why do we need to teach morals and ethics now more than ever? What role should teachers play in creating kind and compassionate citizens, and how do we train and cultivate empathy and mindfulness, i.e. a moral compass in every student? This month, our top global teacher bloggers explore these questions and share their perspectives.
“Shortly after Christmas,” writes Shaelynn Fransworth (@shfarnsworth), “a new student registered and was placed in my freshmen English class. He was quiet, spoke broken English, and wore the face of a person twice his age. Burim, along with his mother and sister, fled the war-torn Bosnia in search of a better place to live. One without bombs, death, and violence; and he, fortunately for all of us, ended up in small-town Iowa.” Read More.
“Imagine what would happen to the world if it would be composed of virtuous characters who promote compassion and act in such a way that they always treat humanity never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end,” writes Jasper Rijpma (@JasperRijpma), based at the Hyperion Lyceum in Amsterdam. “In a world that is getting more and more overheated, the use of a decent functioning moral compass is getting ever more crucial.” Read More.
“When I taught in the high school, I taught the whole child, not just my content area. I love English and everything in the curriculum: writing, grammar, literature and oral communication. But what I loved more was how the English curriculum lent itself to teaching my students life skills, particularly kindness, empathy, and compassion,” writes Pauline Hawkins (@PaulineDHawkins). Read More.
“All educators (and parents) should understand that we model behavior for students. Morals are most often caught, not taught. What we do is even more important than what we say,” writes Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher). “One of the greatest disservices we can do to society is to ignore what should be dealt with right now.” Read More.
“As educators, we don’t just teach content, we must also teach the ethical behavior that has too long been neglected in society,” writes Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) in Singapore. He recommends “4 ways to embed morals and ethics in your classroom.” Read More.
“As a principal, I have toiled with the question of whether our education system is to blame for what is the rise of populism; I will have to admit that in many ways it has, indeed. Let me be very clear when I say, education isn’t the only factor, but the reality is that the focus on high stakes exams and the changes in standards that I have witnessed over the years, has robbed teachers from the opportunities of building empathy, respect, acceptance, love, and understanding through curriculums that are rigid and data driven,” writes Nadia Lopez (@TheLopezEffect). Read More.
“We are role models for students all the time, even if we are not conscious about it. We can operate as agents of high ethics modelling acceptance and empathy. Furthermore, as teachers it is important to promote the development of social and emotional skills and knowledge in our students that promote mindfulness, empathy and compassion,” writes Maarit Rossi (@pathstomath). Read More.
“We have found that mindfulness and drama are specifically great to learn about self-discipline and empathy. Regularly presenting kids with judgement problems and difficult questions to think about powers up their ethics muscles. There are many opportunities to stimulate learners with such challenges. History lessons could be twice as constructive – and twice as fun – if you not only recount the facts, but also present the moral dilemmas faced by so many people from our past – and present,” writes Elisa Guerra (@ElisaGuerraCruz) in Mexico. Read More.
“The far more exciting purpose of education that is to be the catalyst for the realisation of the full human potential of each child in our care is what drives us. The full human potential cannot be understood without the development of strong values and a clear sense of purpose that to be fully human is to refuse all actions and thoughts that reduce our humanity,” writes Miriam Mason-Sesay (@EducAidSL) in Sierra Leone. Read More.
Our Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. They have founded schools, written curricula, and led classrooms in 16 different countries that stretch across every populated continent on earth. The Top Global Teacher Bloggers is a monthly series where educators across the globe offer experienced yet unique takes on today’s most important topics. CMRubinWorld utilizes the platform to propagate the voices of the most indispensable people of our learning institutions – teachers.
(Photo is courtesy of CMRubinWorld)
Top Row L to R: Adam Kenner, Shaelynn Fransworth, Pauline Hawkins, Kazuya Takahashi
2nd Row L to R: Elisa Guerra, Jasper Rijpma , C.M. Rubin, Carl Hooker, Warren Sparrow
3rd Row L to R: Nadia Lopez, Joe Fatheree, Craig Kemp, Rashmi Kathuria, Maarit Rossi
Bottom Row L to R: Jim Tuscano, Richard Wells, Abeer Qunaibi, Vicki Davis, Miriam Mason-Sesay