If Kids are to Learn Character, Involve the Whole School


A number of programs offer methods that teachers can use to bring character education (or social and emotional learning) to their classroom. The Character Lab, Open Circle, and Peace Firstall deliver programs with that intent, each in different ways.

In working with these programs and others, and in interviewing teachers they serve, we heard that character education delivered by a teacher in one classroom will dissipate if not reinforced and supported across multiple classrooms, in multiple grades, and even on the playground and in the lunchroom.

This may seem self-evident. But when schools make funding available for individual teachers to learn character-education methods for their classroom, the investment is ineffective. To have a lasting impact on positive character development, programs should be instituted across the whole school.

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