On Tuesday April 30, 2013, the Harvard Coop hosted Dr. Kevin Ryan, Dr. Karen Bohlin and Dr. Bernice Lerner as a part of the Meet the Author Series. Dr. Ryan, Dr. Bohlin and Dr. Lerner co-authored Happiness and Virtue Beyond East and West with three Japanese authors from Reitaku University, Japan. Happiness and Virtue Beyond East and West examines nine essential virtues through a series of essays.
To a group of nearly 40 scholars, Dr Ryan, Dr. Bohlin, Dr. Lerner and their copy editor Elisabeth Carter described the history behind the book and the collaboration process with the three Japanese authors. In addition, the authors took the time to describe their personal connection to the nine virtues and answer thought provoking questions on character.
This event brought the past 15 years of the Center for Character and Social Responsibility together, as seen in the photo below.
On January 10th, 2013, Professor Maurice Elias gave a brilliant and compelling presentation at the CCSR’s annual workshop, Creating a Positive School Culture and Climate.
Participants gained a tremendous amount of knowledge on social emotional character development (SECD), networked with colleagues throughout Massachusetts (and Maine) and returned to their respective schools with steps to implementing SECD.
The powerpoint by Professor Maurice Elias is accessible here. Please stay tuned as we continue the conversation on SECD.
Professor Maurice J. Elias, Ph. D., will present at the Center for Character and Social Responsibility Conference: Creating A Positive School Culture and Climate, on January 10th, 2013. Professor Elias is a Rutgers University Professor of Psychology and Director of their PhD Program in Clinical Training.
Professor Elias will share proven and practical approaches to building students’ competences and character. K – 12 administrators, classroom teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists and school staff will have the opportunity to assess the climate of their respective schools and be given valuable tools to create action plans for improving classroom and school climate.
Visit here to read a full interview with Professor Maurice J. Elias.
Visit our Professional Development page to register for the conference. To attend the conference, please register by December 19, 2012.
By Samantha Rabinowicz, Professional Development Coordinator for the Center for Character and Social Responsibility
The 2012 National Forum on Character Education took place in Washington, D.C. from Nov 1 – 4, 2012. In addition to the diverse and experienced keynote speakers, I attended several breakout sessions. Of them all, I found the following to be the most informative and meaningful: In Youth We Trust with Cathryn Berger Kaye, Federal Policy and Character Education with Jon Terry, Developing the Culture, Competencies and Positive Behavior Needed to Enhance Academic Achievement with Matthew Davidson and a hot topic discussion on Why is Character Education an Effective Tool for Transforming Climate? with Phil Brown and Jonathan Cohen. The hot topic discussion touched on the theme of school culture and climate, a subject we emphasize at the Center. The group discussion forced me to reflect on my own classroom climate/culture and tools I can use to create a positive, safe, and effective culture within my own classroom and school at large. In addition, I represented the Center for Character and Social Responsibility (CCSR) at a discussion emphasizing the Partnerships in Character Education Partnerships (CEP). I felt it was a tremendous learning experience, representing not only the CCSR but Massachusetts’ teachers as well. Please reach out for further information on the takeaways of the Conference.
Professor Scott Seider’s new book, Character Compass: How Powerful School Culture Can Point Students Toward Success was recently published by Harvard Education Press.
In Character Compass, Scott Seider offers portraits of three high-performing urban schools in Boston, Massachusetts that have made character development central to their mission of supporting student success, yet define character in three very different ways. The schools Seider profiles are Boston Preparatory Charter Public School, Roxbury Preparatory Charter School, and Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter Public School.
Boston Prep focuses on students’ moral character development, Roxbury Prep prioritizes performance character development, and Pacific Rim emphasizes civic character development. Drawing on surveys, interviews, field notes, and student achievement data, Character Compass highlights the unique effects of these distinct approaches to character development as well as the implications for parents, educators, and policymakers committed to fostering powerful school culture in their own school communities.
Boston University School of Education will be celebrating Professor Seider’s publication with an Character Compass: Book Talk event. The Book Talk will be held on Thursday, November 1st, 2012, 6 to 7:30 pm. The event will feature Seider and educators from the profiled schools.
For more information and to register for the Book Talk, please visit here.
The Character Coalition held their first meeting on Thursday September 20, 2012. With a passionate e-board and at least a dozen active members, it is very apparent that this will be a successful year for the club. Members range from freshman to graduate students and from the School of Education to the School of Engineering. The agenda for the year includes: continued work with Girl Scouts and a new partnership with Boy Scouts, pen pals with schools in Massachusetts and New York, a reconnection with Peace First, and a spring convention for student organization on ethical leadership. Join the Character Coalition group at facebook.com to stay up to date with all meeting and events.
The Center for Character and Social Responsibility (CCSR) is now on LinkedIn.
The CCSR group is designed as an opportunity for colleagues to stay connected with the CCSR. Through the LinkedIn group, members can not only connect with the CCSR, but they can also network with other professionals in the field of character education.
The CCSR LinkedIn group is an open group. Members are encouraged to invite colleagues, who share the vision to incorporate character development and social responsibility into the daily education of our children, to the CCSR LinkedIn group.
Join the CCSR LinkedIn group page here.
Professor Steve Ellenwood, history education, is the new Faculty Director for the Center for Character and Social Responsibility (CCSR), following three decades serving as Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at SED.
Professor Ellenwood was a member of the original advisory board for the CCSR (previously named the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character), founded in 1989.
As Faculty Director, Ellenwood plans to increase the range of professional development opportunities offered through the Center, build the role of service learning within the undergraduate curriculum in the school, and support the development of graduate programming in the areas of character and social responsibility. He aims to build on the wonderful traditions created by previous Directors, Kevin Ryan, Karen Bohlin, Bernice Lerner, and Hardin Coleman.
Integrating Anti-Bullying Practices into K – 8 classrooms
Date: January 13, 2012 Friday 10 – 3
Location: Boston University The School of Education Boston, MA
Objective: K – 8 teachers will walk away with shared ideas and resources on anti-bullying. We will work with teachers’ existing routines and lessons
- Dr. Melissa Holt, BU Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology and past Behavioral Scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Dr. Mary Hansberry McCarthy, the principal of the Hubert Kindergarten Center and the Director of Character Education and Service-Learning in Hudson Public Schools, MA. Dr. Mary McCarthy leads her district’s anti-bullying committee.
- Laura Mullen is a kindergarten teacher at the Hubert Kindergarten Center and the Chairperson of the Hudson Character Education Committee working in conjunction with Boston University’s Center for Character and Social Responsibility. Hudson has been a National School of Character through the Character Education partnership (CEP) since 2001.
Click here for more information or to register.
The following article is from Culture Effect.
During a recent visit to my alma mater, Boston University, I was once again moved by the memorial erected on campus to the school’s most famous alumni, Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a sculpture of doves in flight over the center of campus, and it always makes me think of education as the wind beneath our wings.
In an essay King wrote for the Maroon Tiger in 1947 titled, “The Purpose of Education” he said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically…intelligence plus character—that is the goal of education.”
King’s inclusion of character as a dimension of the educational process is consistent with his strong belief that one day African-American children would be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. I think he’d be disappointed that character development has overtime become unhinged from the attainment of education.
Report cards, for instance, no longer report on conduct, which let you know how much trouble you’d been causing in school. Conduct communicated volumes about the relationship between character and getting a good education: self-control, respect, citizenship and fairness, among others.
Recent research by Angela Duckworth finds that exceptional character strengths, like persistence, tenacity and persuasion may be indispensible to making it to graduation day. We can take what are perceived largely as reasons to expect academic failure – poverty, absent fathers, undereducated parents – and deliberately focus children in these circumstances on transforming the lessons of these challenges into the characteristics of strength they and all of us need to be successful.
To do so we must first, believe no matter the background or circumstance of any child, that he or she is capable of learning and achieving and second, intentionally focus on developing character strengths using both classroom lessons and students’ unique experiences to draw connections to the character strengths they can develop and hone.
King understood that character and academic achievement were inextricably tied. Tolerance, fairness, respect and diligence were needed not just for people to get along, but to create an environment conducive to learning.
Earlier this month, the King memorial was unveiled at the National Mall in Washington D.C. Much will be said about King’s legacy as a civil rights leader and how he took the fight for freedom and justice to the streets; how he longed for the day when we’d be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.
At the memorial to King at our alma mater, I saw doves flying free and was reminded that we build character at home and in the classroom. That’s where the fight for justice and equality really begins.