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Chemistry or Character?


by Hugh Sockett 1997

There are three kinds of problems for character educators which provide the framework for this discussion. First, there is the problem of definition: What is the difference between what a psychiatrist and an educator might say? Second, there is the problem of understanding. What is needed to develop moral agency in children places huge demands on teachers' understanding. Third, there is a problem of social context. Living in a culture in which we reach for explanations that do not respect moral autonomy, we believe in the therapeutic or the clinical as solutions for our weaknesses. This provides teachers, principals, parents, and the children themselves with ways to circumvent moral responsibility for their actions. So we need a clear idea of what the social and institutional context of schools should look like for the development of character, especially for those children labeled ADHD.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 96, No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 98 Number 6, 1997, p. 110-119
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18780, Date Accessed: 10/17/2017 3:57:13 AM

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About the Author
  • Hugh Sockett
    George Mason University
    HUGH SOCKETT is Professor of Education and Director of the Institute for Educational Transformation at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
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