Schools have a responsibility for the character development of their students. The UK school inspection body, Ofsted, is already implementing a system to reward schools that emphasize a child’s character development.
A large part of a child’s life is spent in school, which for most starts when they are aged five years until they are 18 years old. Most of the activities during this stage revolves around schools. Therefore, schools play an integral part in a child’s life and the question now becomes whether a child’s character can be developed or molded in schools.
A child’s character is a mix of learned behaviors, genes and environment. Kids’ character before schools is mostly molded by parents who can teach their kids how to be kind, polite and be able to discern right from wrong.
By the time these kids get into schools, they already know how to behave and conduct themselves around different groups through learning from their parents. There are also other life skills that are important and can be taught by parents such as compassion, honesty, respect, empathy, conscientiousness, optimism, adaptability, initiative, motivation and resilience.
Experts have always wondered whether teachers can also play a role in a child’s character development. In September this year, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted), an organization responsible for school inspection came up with a solution. They agreed that teachers should play a role in developing characters of their students.
Ofsted character development program
Ofsted introduced a school judging system that involves measuring how a school is involved in the personal development of its learners. They will be evaluated on the extent to which these schools are going to support their students in character development.
Ofsted official definition of character development was stated as
a set of positive personal traits, dispositions and virtues that informs their motivation and guides their conduct so that they reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and cooperate consistently well with others.
Schools should provide a sense of purpose beyond exams. Encouraging children’s participation in community-based activities should also be a priority for these schools. These programs can give a sense of belonging. They are also a great way of reflecting their personal lives and form habits of fairness, sensitivity, and service. Implementing this in schools will help these students develop characters that are positive in society.
This move has been hailed as a progressive step in the UK education system. The system will also help parents and teachers to collaborate more in helping their children develop positive character. It will also reduce cases of mental illness through student participation in self-development, which will raise their self-esteem and social skills.
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