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Schools, Character Development, and Citizenship

by Jacques S. Benninga - 1997

No reasonable person, and certainly not those personnel directors, would suggest de-emphasizing academic standards for students. But if we are truly committed to educating students for responsible citizenship, we must devote equal attention to developing positive character traits such as persistence, temperance, and civic mindedness. Educating children with these traits requires work, and while no simple solutions exist, we do have perspectives, albeit conflicting perspectives, that provide direction. One such approach we might call the "modern" position, a position optimistic about the merits of giving students a major say in their own moral education. This position is often critical of overt adult direction or monitoring. A second approach we might call the "traditional" position, a "position which expects adults to shape and determine the immediate behavior of the young, that is, to form their character.

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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. 77-96
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18778, Date Accessed: 7/16/2020 2:16:19 PM

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About the Author
  • Jacques Benninga
    California State University—Fresno
    E-mail Author
    JACQUES S. BENNINGA is a Professor in the Department of Literacy and Early Education, School of Education and Human Development, California State University at Fresno.
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