Helping Students Find a Sense of Purpose

Motivated by the increased coverage of student misbehavior, the school-reform movement is working to bring back moral education to the intellectual learning students do today. Bringing moral, or character education, back will help students see the purpose to their studies. Even lack of purpose has a deep impact on the character education of youths, showing just how important these are.

Questions to consider:

1. Do you know the importance of what is taught in each of your classes?
2. Does this or would this help you become more invested in your education?
3. What are the pros of character education—academic, emotional and social intelligence? What are the best ways to promote these issues in and out of class?
4. What are the potential costs short term and long term to avoiding the character education piece of learning?


A Q&A With William Damon

March 13, 2009

William Damon, a professor of education at Stanford University, has long advocated “character education” as a key component of school reform. The author of several books on the subject, his latest is The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life (Free Press, 2008). The Chronicle Review asked him to discuss the role of schools in moral development and how they can encourage students to define their goals and aspirations.

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