As we consider this month’s blog topic, Growing Character in Children, it prompts me to think of our GCU students. I also can’t help but reflect on their diverse experiences regarding character education.
Having taught in elementary school, I know there are different options for character education programs in schools. Each program has a slightly different framework for building character traits in children. For example, Character Counts supports the development of six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Schools implementing this program have various resources and motivational practices to encourage practices for good character in their students.
We want our GCU students to embody good character traits as they enter the university, but we also expect to see their individual character traits grow and develop as they become adults. In the College of Education, we foster that development in alignment with our GCU professional dispositions. These dispositions are values that will eventually influence their behaviors toward students and communities. They flow directly from the university’s mission statement and represent the Christian worldview.
Through this focus, our teacher candidates become not only responsible citizens, but they also develop into ethically and morally respectable citizens as they walk the path of lifelong learning and service. They become educators of our future, representing exactly what educators can and should demonstrate.
Do I think character education is effective? Yes, I think any effort to help talk about and practice character and dispositional growth is worthwhile. Students do not always receive the same emphasis on character at home as they do at school. If we remember that the purpose of school is to create productive members of society, then we must remember what we expect of these productive members of society.
Do we want them to be honest and kind, and treat others with respect and equality? If the answer is yes, then we have to take the time to grow character in our children.
GCU incorporates the Christian worldview into everything we do. Our goal is to help all students become global citizens, critical thinkers, effective communicators and responsible leaders. Learn more about GCU and our mission by requesting more information.