Course title: ED 571 Selected Topics: Character Education (elective)

Class Times: Fridays: 6:00 – 9:00; Saturdays: 8:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. (4 week ends)

Instructor: Lori Wiley, Ph.D.

Office Hours: Instructor will be available to students after each class session on site.

I. Course Description
In this graduate course teachers will examine character and how it is formed in childhood and throughout the lifespan. They will examine psychological and philosophical theories of moral development, including Piaget, Erikson, Kohlberg, Gilligan, Hauerhaus and McIntyre. They will study character education, why it is needed and how it is taught. The course includes many practical strategies and methodologies for supporting character development. Applications are for public, private and religious settings.

II. Pre-requisites: none

III. Course goal:

Teachers will plan and implement a comprehensive character education program in their classrooms.

IV. Course Objectives:

a. The student will define and describe character.

b. The student will describe theories of character formation.

c. The student will define character education, its distinctives as opposed to values clarification, moral reasoning, and didacticism.

d. The student will list reasons character education should be taught and present convincing arguments to support it.

e. The student will list and describe methods of teaching character education, using them in the classroom.

f. The student will assess character education in the classroom.

g. The student will design a tool for measuring character development.
h. The student will design a comprehensive plan for teaching character education in the classroom including 1) providing moral leadership; 2) creating a moral climate; 3) creating a moral community; 4) correcting student behavior by addressing character; 5) using curriculum to introduce and discuss moral issues; 6) designing special projects and community service learning.

V. Textbooks:

Lickona, T. (1992). Educating for character. New York: Bantam Books.

Wiley, L. (1998). Community-building activities. Manchester NH: Character Development Foundation.

Wiley, L. (1998). Comprehensive character-building classroom: A handbook for teachers. Manchester NH: Character Development Foundation.

Reserve books: see bibliography

VI. Course Techniques and procedures:

This course is activity-based. Many methods of teaching character education will be demonstrated. Community-building, cooperative learning, reflection and analysis are part of every class.

VII. Course requirements:

1. Attendance (10%)

It is understood that adults lead busy lives and have to make difficult choices as they prioritize their time. The instructor respects any student’s decision not to attend class. However, students who attend all classes will earn more points for attendance than those who do not attend all classes.

2. A code of ethics or commitment statement. (10%) Due 2nd class

3. Participate in a pilot character education assessment using the Comprehensive Character-Building Classroom Inventory.(30%) Due 3rd class

4. An oral presentation to other faculty or parents on character education. (10%) Due 4th class

5. A plan for implementing comprehensive character education in the classroom.
Include campaign activities, community-building activities, moral exercises, class governance, a correction plan, a literature unit or comparable unit on virtues, a community service learning plan, an assessment plan. See outline for requirements. Due 4th class (40%)

VII. Study Outline

Class 1 (Friday)

What is character?

How is it formed?


Scripture/Christian world view

Class 2 (Saturday)

What is character education?

What are universal values? How are they determined?

Universal moral law vs. religion, private convictions, cultural norms

Why is character education needed?

How is character education taught? (an overview)

How is it assessed?

Class 3 (Friday)

Moral Leadership;

Ethics for Educators: A Code of Ethics

Class 4 (Saturday)

Case studies of ethical dilemmas for educators

Creating a moral climate:

visual, auditory, interactions

Class 5 (Friday)

Building a moral community in the classroom

Moral exercises

Class 6 (Saturday)


Class governance

Teaching students planning skills: personal responsibility

Class 7 (Friday)

Moral Correction



Praise and Recognition


Problem solving

Class 8 (Saturday)



Lesson Plans

Thematic units

Infusion of the prescribed curriculum

Process and Content

Common Projects

Social Science research

Field trips, experiential learning

Community service learning

Community resources in the classroom


Comprehensive Character Education Plan Checklist

c Identify problem behaviors.
c Identify character traits desired.
c Separate universal values from personal values.
c Choose goals.
c Define each character trait in behavioral terms. (objectives)
c Design an assessment tool for measuring these objectives.
c Choose activities to create a moral climate.
c Visuals
c Auditory
c Campaign
c Choose community-building activities.
c Name games.
c Get acquainted activities.
c Friendship-building activities.
c Moral exercises
c Class governance: responsibilities
c Planning skills for students
c Write a behavior management plan.
c Develop a thematic unit to teach one character trait. Integrate all areas of the curriculum.
c Choose projects to encourage moral behavior.
c Social science research
c Field trips
c Resource people in the classroom
c Community service learning
c Advocacy for a good cause

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