What's Wrong With Character Education?

Michael Davis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    We can distinguish three sorts of 'character education': (1) simple moral education (essentially, Kohlbergian moral education in the classroom), (2) just'community education (a Deweyesque practice emphasizing democratic decision making outside the classroom), and (3) simple character education (attempting to build character both in and outside of class one trait at a time by emphasizing good behavior). Simple moral education may have a modest effect on character; just'community education probably has no greater effect, even though it has considerably higher risks and other costs. But simple moral education suffers from three disadvantages that should lead us to reject it: the disadvantages are empirical (absence of evidence that it does what it claims), conceptual (a conflict between what good character is and the way that simple character education proposes to teach it), and moral (its failure to do the right things for the right reasons).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)32-57
    Number of pages26
    JournalAmerican Journal of Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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