Character Development in the Classroom

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Character Development
More frequently than not, character development has become part of the classroom curriculum. Character development is a term used in many educational systems to indicate a strategy for the maturation of individual students. (Wikipedia, 2011) Character is the sum of all qualities that make up an individual. It is one’s set of values, thoughts, words and actions. To be involved, or not to be involved, that is the question. This essay will address the issue of teaching character development in the classroom and whether this infringes on the rights of parents.

Character development ultimately is a parent’s responsibility. However, some students do not receive the necessary character development lessons from their parents that other students may be receiving. This is where teachers enter the equation. Teachers not only have the right, but the obligation to provide an education for their students that helps them develop into successful, moral adults. Though academics should be the primary focus of a teacher’s responsibility, some degree of character education should be integrated into every child’s education. When public schools were established in the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries, one of their stated missions was to teach moral virtues. (“Teachers as Role Models”, 2008) Teachers in the 18th and 19th centuries were expected to be moral individuals who displayed good character. Today, it still seems to go without saying that teachers are role models for their students. Teachers are individuals students look up to and learn a great deal just by watching.

Character encompasses being good and doing right. Teachers can easily model this without being pushy or pushing their ideas onto students. Certainly teachers need to avoid hot topics such as pro-choice and religious instruction. But teachers should not be discouraged from shaping their students into thoughtful, productive moral citizens as they work with them in the classroom....
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