Character Education

Character education is the idea that we should be educating the entire child. Not only should students learn historical facts and how to add and subtract; they should learn how to be caring and responsible human beings. I chose character education because it is something that is totally inseparable from formal or informal education. Every time a teacher steps in front of a class they become a role model for character. It is important that we realize this power and use it to create virtuous students. Hopefully by exploring this wiki you will find why character education is important and a few resources that can help you implement it in your class and in your school.

The 5 Most Important Things I Learned:
1. Character education is an idea that has existed as long as the idea of education has existed.
2. Character education is surprisingly easy to incorporate into a classroom and there are many resources available to help
3. There are many different character education programs being run right now, but there seems to be no one unifying approach or doctrine
4. Most states have character education as a part of their mandatory curriculum.
5. While the main point is to teach children how to become better people it seems to have more of an effect on academics than on actual character.

1 minute PowerPoint

If you only look at one thing on this wiki look at resource number 3. This resource provides everything you need to know to come to a basic understanding of character education. In about 4 minutes it covers what character education is, why it's important, how teachers can use it, and the benefits. It is a perfect summary of everything else that can be found in this wiki.

My Resources:

1. What is Character Education: This resource comes from It is a very clear and short paper describing exactly what character education is and the principles that character education is founded on. I give this resource a 5/5 because it is clear, to the point, and is a perfect introduction into the world of character education.

2. Why Character Education is important: So now that you have an understanding of what character education is I'm guessing you have some questions about why it's important. Not only that, but how will you make time for it in your already overcrowded classroom schedule. Well this resource from the teacher's lounge should help you. It outlines 5 reasons why every teacher should include character education, and provides a slew of links to other great resources. For this reason I give this resource a 5/5.

3. Short video on Character Education: I give this resource a 4/5. It is just a youtube video with text and pictures, but it does a very good job of providing a brief overview of what character education is. It also does a nice job of citing research that highlights the positive effects of character education and some tips on how to implement it. All in all it is a very good way to dip your toes into the idea of character education.

4. Character Education Standards: That's right, as if you didn't already have enough on your plate. There are character education standards out there to help teachers make character education an active part of their classroom and school system. While these standards are not officially adopted by any school district they make character education more accessible to teachers by providing it in a format that already exists. These standards come from the Josephson Institute which is currently doing a lot of work with character education. I give this resource a 4/5 because it helps make the nebulous world of character education more tangible.

5. 11 Principles of Character Education: This is a free download of a book I found that sets up clear guidelines for why character education is important and how it should be implemented in the entire school system. It is put together by the Character Education Partnership and I found the link to it on the National Education Association's website. Overall I give this resource a 3/5. The only reason I score it so low is because of the length of the document. This is not a quick read. However, I included it because it lays out a system for how entire schools should go about implementing character education and not just individual teachers. If you would like to download your own copy I have included the link to the free download page here

6. Characters of Character Slideshow: This was an interesting find for me. This resource comes from an nonprofit organization called characters of character. It is a program that has students learn from, write to, and actually meet nine different characters that correspond to character traits. I thought this was a very clever way to get younger students involved with character education. I give this resource a 4/5 because while it is a good idea it does cost money and is geared towards younger children. However, I do think this is a great jumping off point for further creative thinking about character education for all ages.

7. How can we measure if character education is effective: This resource is another youtube video that focuses on how the character counts program, one of the foremost character education programs, tracks its effectiveness. I give this video a 3/5 because while it does a good job of describing how the program went about collecting the data to show their effectiveness, he never says any results. That was kind of a let-down for me, but I think the ideas presented in the video on how to collect behavioral data merits this videos inclusion in my wiki.

8. Benefits of Character Education: This resource from does a good job of showing how character education can benefit academic achievement. I give it a 5/5 because it cites many studies that show how character education affects academic achievement and elaborates on the possible reasons behind those effects.

9.Can we affect character: I include this resource just to throw a monkey wrench into everything I have said and used as a resource up to this point. The entire purpose of character education is to change the character of students for the better. While it has been shown that character education programs do improve academics they may not be changing character. I give this article a 5/5 because it's wonderful and thought provoking and completely undermines the entire point of character education which opens the floor for some great discussion and further research.

10. Self-control video: This is a youtube video that I was lucky enough to stumble upon and I thought it was funny. It has a singing puppet. What more could you possibly want?! It gets a 5/5.