Building Character in Schools: Practical Ways to Bring Moral Instruction to Life

Kevin Ryan, Author, Ryan Bohlin, Author, Karen E. Bohlin, Author Jossey-Bass $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7879-4344-8
The authors, respectively founding director and assistant director of the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character at Boston University, clearly delineate the difference between the trendiness of current ""values"" education and the timeliness of moral instruction. ""Socrates long ago stated that the mission of education is to help people become both smart and good. In recent decades the second part of that definition has suffered in American schools and colleges."" Steeped in classical and literary references, the book opens with a convincing and inspiring argument advocating character education in the public school system. The authors move on to the roles played by parents, teachers and students in incorporating the tenets of moral instruction into the academic milieu. Too often character education is handled incorrectly, they say, offering elaborate examples of ""personal relativism"" and the dangers of teachers who fear imposing values on their students. The authors argue that there are moral precepts accepted by society as a whole, and that adults should have the courage to teach them. Numerous appendices offer lists and descriptions of important virtues and ways of inculcating them through example and curriculum. Without preaching, Ryan and Bohlin have written a book that is important, enjoyable reading for anyone concerned with contemporary education. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
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