Character Education - What’s the fuss? - Get SACE

Character Education – a trending topic which is now being whispered down the halls and passages on the way to the classroom. Is this a new trend or is there a lack of character education because it falls on the teachers to teach it?

To understand the meaning of character education, we need to unpack this new term:

Character education is a learning process that enables students and adults in a school community to understand, care about and act on core ethical values such as respect, justice, civic virtue and citizenship, and responsibility for self and others.

Let’s face it, more and more of our time, as teachers, is devoted to teaching children right from wrong – especially the little ones, and by the time we reach the tweens and teens, we are rectifying their moral compasses and guiding them as the foundations of what they believe to be right from wrong have already been cemented into their core. And so very often, we get asked by parents; But what about the academics?

So really it begs the question, as parents and educators, what exactly are we moulding in our society today, especially given the recent news of gender-based violence? And what constitutes as the WHOLE child?

As a member of society, I believe it is of utmost importance for us to recognise that the whole child is compiled of EQ (Emotional Intelligence), IQ (Intelligent Quotient) and SQ (Spiritual Intelligence). Without all three, regardless of what people perceive as their SQ, you cannot function in a school environment with a steady moral compass. If all three are taught, each child will have the EQ to go out into this new world; yes the fourth industrial revolution –  a world in which many of us are unsure of – with the capacity to possess empathy for others, care for others and display an awe of wonderment to the environment around him or her.

Each child will have the IQ to function in this new world, finding his or her niche, academically and be able to take the calculated risks and decide on the future he or she wants to be a part of. 

A spiritual guidance, whatever the child chooses, will assist them in knowing who they are and what they mean to society. It will mean that children will have followed a journey, be it faith, spiritually or other belief systems, and therefore they have a sense of belonging and a deep passion for morality and citizenship.

Once this has been firmly established in all three areas, our children can positively impact society because they have the character education to see that they matter and therefore they are able to make a difference and change the way this wicked world functions right now.

 And most importantly, you, the educators of this new generation and generations to come, are the major shareholders in making all of this happen. My, what a privilege that must be!