Should character education be necessary in school?

Great stuff, as always, from Grant Wiggins:

I’m not sure, in sum, that those working on character development as a linchpin of better educational outcomes for disadvantaged kids see this connection with how curriculum is written and delivered. Perhaps I’ll understand things differently when I finish Tough’s book and read further on the KIPP approach. But my hunch is that few such educators are facing the brutal fact that poor schools often have terrible curricula and compliance-focused pedagogies, no matter how caring and hard-working the teachers are. And so, to ask kids to persist in the face of boring and isolating work conditions is not only somewhat hypocritical but borders on cruel. It certainly isn’t preparation for a successful life – it’s not enough to be REALLY good at delaying gratification and trusting adults. You have to have a passion and a purpose, and typical schools often work against it.

I’m proud that Harvest is definitely not one of these schools.


One thought on “Should character education be necessary in school?

  1. It is refreshing to see data driven studies giving credence to character education lately. Tough’s book has aided a lot on that front. And, Wiggins (you’re right Stephen, he nails it every time!) underscores how vital it is to include students in constructing their education. In my experience with school climate work, those schools that have their fingers on the pulse of just how important it is to honor and promote student voice are the schools that measure high in the areas of engagement, preparation for post secondary study or the job force, a sense of belonging, a sense of safety, and (dare we say it??) a climate of joy for learning.
    And, while the Kipp approach is successful in creating certain conditions to foster this type of character development, the entrenched obeisance to grades, testing, and rote learning still take a toll on engendering the types of schools where students (and teachers) want to be.


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