Education does not merely mean learning English, Maths and Science as prescribed in the curriculum or gearing up for exams. It involves the overall development of a student’s personality, perception, character and emotional responses. Parents are increasingly gravitating towards schools that adopt “character development” in their pedagogy which results in the holistic development of their children into responsible, well-balanced and civic-minded individuals. Looking at the current state of international affairs, this type of education is becoming evidently important in raising the next generation.
The simplest definition of “character education” is that it is an approach that incorporates values, ethics, emotional maturity and a sense of civic duty. This definition may seem self-evident but the fact is that modern education has evolved along other lines, emphasizing increasingly a student’s academic or physical achievements.
Today’s children have unregulated access to media and the internet which constantly push down messages and propaganda into their psyche. It becomes more important now than ever to provide proper guidance, both at home and in the classroom, where children spend a majority of their time. A child who spends six or more hours in the school environment learns a lot more than academics in the classroom. They learn to play, share, socialise and resolve conflicts. Character development systemizes these lessons while also helping young students develop a moral compass.
It is important to acknowledge that parents do play a crucial role in the character development of their children but it is by no means a task they can undertake alone. It is also important to teach our children that knowledge can be derived from life experiences too and not just books. This is why an educator’s role is crucial when it comes to character building. Schools, in today’s fast-paced lifestyles, provide one of the few stable influences in a child’s life.
There are no definitive characteristics of a curriculum that incorporate character education. Schools and educators employ different approaches to instil positive values and character traits in children. There are however certain principles that schools and educators can keep in mind while advocating character education. Usually, these principles differ slightly based on the cultures and age groups of the students.
To list a few:
The principles mentioned above are not new. In more ways than one, they are consistent with the traditional views of education. Educators who adhere to this model are seeking to equip children with the values and insight to adapt to a fast-changing world.
Paying attention to character development holds great promise for the future of education. The introduction of personality development courses in school curriculums will play a huge role in changing the conventional way that ‘education’ is perceived. The goal here will be to groom students not only morally but also in:
Promoting the development of all these aspects in a child’s character will make them more aware of the social responsibilities they have and their rights and duties as responsible citizens. Character development, when incorporated into a curriculum, will help increase children’s interest in education. Their young, impressionable minds are moulded in such a way that it helps them make better life choices in the years to come. Following an approach that includes character development as a focal point is oftentimes more challenging than an approach that pays attention to only academic achievements. It is a wider-reaching goal that has the potential to yield outstanding results.