John W. Arceneaux | 7/29/2005 2:48:28 AM
Schools strive to produce competent learners and healthy intellects. But is that enough? asks LSU AgCenter 4-H character education expert John Arceneaux.
Recent research shows schools need to improve the ways they are addressing the social and emotional development of youth. Intellectual development is not enough.
These are the observations of professors Thomas Lickona and Matthew Davidson in a joint study of the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility), the State University of New York College at Cortland and the Character Education Partnership.
Called the "Smart and Good High Schools: Integrating Excellence and Ethics for Success in School, Work and Beyond," the study offers a vision of educational excellence designed to foster human development over a lifetime. It draws two major conclusions: first, there is national consensus regarding the need for character - doing our best work, doing the right thing, living a life of purpose; second, "smart and good high schools" educate for character - both performance character and moral character.
Performance character concentrates on diligence, a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, perseverance, ingenuity and self-discipline. Arceneaux says these are qualities needed to realize one’s potential for excellence in school, the workplace or any area of endeavor.
Moral character concentrates on integrity, justice, caring, respect, responsibility and cooperation. The character expert says these are qualities needed for successful interpersonal relationships and ethical behavior.
In support of the need for the character development, Arceneaux notes that Louisiana 4-H has provided character education support for schools and communities for the last nine years through Character Counts! Louisiana. More than 1 million, school-age youth have been reached through school character education enrichment programs and 4-H clubs.
Character educational materials and train-the-trainer workshops are available for K-12. Details are available through your parish LSU AgCenter office. Also, go to the LSU AgCenter Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com. Click on the 4-H clover and look for the Character Education section.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
On the Internet: Louisiana 4-H Web site: http://www.louisiana4h.org
Source: John Arceneaux (225) 578-2196, or JArceneaux@agcenter.lsu.edu