Whose values should they impart, especially in an increasingly diverse society? Is an emphasis on moral character or social and emotional learning sometimes called performance character an ill-conceived distraction from core academics? Is there really time for it? One issue that emerges when writing about educating for character is the terminology. A lot of different phrases are invoked, including character education, social and emotional learning, non-cognitive skills, moral education, etc.
To be meaningful, character education has to be part of the fabric of school life — not just an add-on or a once-a-week lesson, suggested several experts at an EWA seminar. And educators must practice what they preach. The push for social and emotional learning has gained widespread attention, fueled by a growing body of research that suggests a focus on this domain can improve academic achievement and success in life. As Education Week reports , the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development has convened working groups and is visiting schools around the country that embrace social and emotional learning.
In early , the commission issued preliminary findings. Another key question is how to best to measure social and emotional learning. Indeed, early speculation that some states would build SEL into their revamped accountability systems under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act have not come to pass. So far, no state is using such measures. In the meantime, many experts and educators see a pressing need to engage more deliberately with questions of character and citizenship. For more information, check out our resources page on character and citizenship.
The intensive focus in many public schools on basic academics has sparked concerns that the U.
Empathy, collaboration, and self-efficacy, for instance, are essential in a democratic society. They also are important for success in a fast-changing job market. Backed by decades of research, a movement is afoot to rethink how students learn inside and outside of classrooms. As a result, momentum is building to introduce students to fresh ideas that will help them confront their anxieties about homework, tests and their own ability to learn, making them more motivated learners along the way.
Educating for Character & Citizenship - Education Writers Association
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