This old elementary teacher couldn't agree more with this idea. And
contrary to what some folks would have you believe, our public school teachers
probably spend as much time and effort on this as we do the Three Rs. It's
more an attitude than an academic subject.But, y'know, what
I'm seeing in the world around me now makes me worry even more that
teachers may find it difficult to overcome some of the attitudes students carry
from homes to schools. And don't even start me on the influence of TV and
other entertainment sources on children.
Prisons are replete with educated sociopaths.
Character doesn't come from school. I figure that the average high school
today is the most conformist, soulless, shallow place there is. Character comes
from outside that system. However, we do also need engineers and scientists and
trades and professionals. And they need to have real, hard knowledge skills.
The average school teacher does try to educate our students in learning
responsibility, perseverance and accountability. Unfortunately uneducated people
from outside the system think all we try to do is turn them into conformist,
soulless and shallow individuals.
Character doesn't come from school, but it can certainly be taught there.
It should be taught at home, in hundreds of ways, but school can reinforce that.
In some cases, children do have their character molded at school. I taught in
SLC, on 2700 South, for 19 years. Teaching character was a priority there. We
did so with the stories and examples we used in every subject area. Reading the
best of books was one of our best endeavors. I hadn't read many of those
books before teaching there, and my own mindset benefitted (I wish I still had
that influence; I need it!). It is to our detriment when character is molded
with bad examples, and school can be a part of that.
I had a fantastic teacher for a reading class when I was in Junior High. She
talked and explained 'how life works' once and a while and while I
don't remember a thing that we read in that course, I remember everything
she talked about. One of the greatest points she made was that children in
Africa have old books that say "someday man will land on the moon" and a
lot of them fare better than American students.Instead of trying to
push math earlier or spend more time in school, we need fathers and mothers to
be more engaged in a stable home environment and to be actively involved in
their children's lives."Noncognitive skills such as
resilience, optimism, perseverance and focus, among others, are directly linked
to success in school and beyond"Those skills are taught by
parents. No matter how much compensation a government-run school tries to throw
at children, nothing can make up for a failure in the home. I'm not saying
children can't succeed without this at home, I did; but when children
struggle with these (or anything) then home and family is where our attention is
"This is a worrying predicament — for who will have the
conscientiousness, the persistence and the grit to change it?"I
know one group that does: homeschooling parents!There so many great
schools and great teachers that teach and are examples of good character, but so
many uncontrolled influences are also present there. I'm glad to see a
study that supports what I and all the other homeschooling parents I have met
already know: that good character is most important and we are dedicated to that
first. While I do my best to teach my children academics as well as have
academic opportunities outside of home, my motivation to persist comes from
trying to achieve that "balance" as explained in the article and raising
children that will be good citizens, self-motivated, and contribute positively
to society. Obviously homeschooling doesn't work for everybody, but there
are a lot of homeschoolers out there (and the numbers are growing!) that work so
hard and are dedicated to this concept and are deserving of praise!
Life is full of "uncontrolled influences", and perhaps sheltering your
kids from them is a good idea. But it wasn't for us. I am one of those
people who loves to stand out during the storm, feeling the wind push against
me. It is what makes me feel alive. It is that same thing I try to
teach my kids. There will always be those things in life that present
challenges to achieving what you are trying to do. It is those that can keep
their focus, regardless of what the world throws at you, that creates and
refines character, at least in my opinion.So while I get the home
schooling thing, and don't see anything wrong with those who choose it, my
focus is for my kids to do well when even those around don't care. Do
something because it is the right thing to do, not because it is has been made
easy for you, nor because you will be punished if you don't, but because it
is the right thing to do. And that is what I think school teaches
my kids. Do the right thing and succeed regardless.