Nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue.
— Benjamin Franklin
Character can be defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Before anything else, what does education constitute in layman terms? You must have guessed world-class academic coaching with some extra-curricular activities that could assist the former. It’s a bummer that we take character education which is ideally meant to be on top of our priority list for granted.
Even now, if you’re questioning the importance of character education, we can delve right into details of
Why is character education important?
Research shows that the students who have been exposed to character education across schools have turned out to be visibly honest and positive. We might think teachers at school must be teaching them, children will learn it at home, or it would just come to them as they face life.
Character education when introduced formally as a course in school, can significantly change your child’s life in terms of quality, which on a large scale, ultimately builds the society. Let’s all be held accountable for what goes wrong and try to get this “Character/Value Education” into action.
Quite a character..
Character is not something you’re born with. It is developed gradually over time based on the environmental influences. The major influencers are family, school, community, friends circle, etc. The art and culture of the place also have a major influence on your character. The media is a major force in the current development of children’s value formation. Television, social media networks, etc. mold them to be what they are.
This is a fact that goes without saying. It is extremely important to develop a base of character education for the children in the appropriate ages. They have a tendency to watch and learn. They try to pick up the behavior of their parents or teachers or any figure they respect and admire. It’s a great yet dangerous phenomenon that needs to be given attention collectively.
Parents and schools can make a difference
Parents and schools can take a firm initiative to actively promote character education through programs/courses/classes meant to develop their values. Many progressive schools have taken up this idea and have seen a positive change in their students’ growth. Being the figures of control, as parents and teachers the ball is ultimately in your court to bring out the better for the future of the students.
Character over crimes
It’s quite alarming to see data records of juvenile delinquents. Citing India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the minister said the percentage of crimes committed by children in the 16-18 years age group had also increased in relation to the total crimes committed by children across all ages. This percentage rose from 48.7% in 2002 to 66.3% in 2013. Similar cases have been seen even in some of the most developed countries like the USA.
The gender divide
Darkness can never eliminate darkness, only light can. However progressive we want to depict the nation to be, there has been a constant rate of increase coming to crimes against women. Especially the lower classes, and they go unnoticed. Such cases prevail only when morals and values are not given enough emphasis. There is a dire need to educate and enlighten the entire population about basic ethics and values.
Opacity towards mental health
In India, people largely do not consider mental issues/illnesses as a legitimate disorder. There is a strong stigma attached to people who have mental disorders and are often mocked at. Value education is the only way out of this rabbit hole of ignorance. Children from a young age ought to be exposed to character education so that they have a good understanding of the sensitive issues and turn out to be better human beings in the future.
Each and every positive change counts
We often think how it would make a difference if it was only me who changed for good, well the change will benefit you, your family, your community and your nation. All this starts with a little change in you. A mind with good virtue could bring out a lot more good for the society in general. Building a career is not entirely great. How you apply and implement the learnt knowledge for the betterment of your environment is what makes you stand apart.
Here are a few ways to teach character education in class-
- Model positive character traits and reward them with every good act of value they portray. Classroom is the best place to collectively build positive traits.
- Assign a particular hour every week for a session to have them participate in activities highlighting the importance of values and nurture them.
- Activities that interest the children can incorporate values and morals like skits to be performed in class which could boost their ethical traits.
- Make some self-reflective questionnaires to help them realize what they are and what areas they need improvement in. Skill based learning with values is a definite win-win.
- Getting involved in creativity and art could reinforce their good values. It would reflect their minds and we could evaluate the necessary areas of growth if needed.
Having said this, our children’s character speaks of the kind of country that we will have in the future. Their attitudes are a reflection of the next generations to come. The challenge is upon us to shape the values that have defined our system. It is never too late to change things. So let us pledge to make better citizens for our society.
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