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Why Teach Character Education and Etiquette in Our Schools?


Character Education for Teens

By Jeremy Willinger

Part 1

What makes a child extraordinary? Parents and teachers both have a vital role in shaping their children’s future. We teach etiquette lessons that help them learn the difference between right and wrong and, by helping them to focus on their actions, how to interact with others.

In today’s public and private school system, there is a strong emphasis on the three R’s, but educators must consider adding an E to this alphabet - etiquette. Teaching children to make smart choices will help them to become compassionate and loyal individuals, and can greatly reduce future problems they may develop or encounter. Moving way beyond the proper usage of forks and knives, twenty-first-century etiquette offers a blueprint for weaving the fabric of our future society.

The goal of character education is to raise emotionally balanced, socially compassionate, and caring individuals with a solid value system. Those educators who focus mainly on test scores are in for a rude awakening when larger issues arise (the child is cheating on tests, or stealing from classmates, for example).

Courses on etiquette and character development can sweep potential minefields by imparting the building blocks of successful emotional growth: integrity, honesty, empathy, leadership, and responsibility, to name just a few. If your child grows up to be a doctor but is greedy and uncaring, that advanced degree counts for very little, for you would have failed miserably in nurturing a true human being.

Recent studies have shown that emotional intelligence (EI) is as central to a child’s success and fulfillment as good grades and a college degree. Etiquette seeks to enhance the EI of children by encouraging them to express and discuss their emotions, thereby improving their social sensitivity and public behavior.

Along with increased self-confidence and the ability to relate to others, students of etiquette develop enhanced social skills and experience far less anxiety when handling peer pressure. The potential for school violence can also be reduced by practicing the responsible behavior stressed in etiquette education.

The effects of etiquette and character training are immediate and longlasting. Public school children, after having taken only two training sessions in character education, demonstrate a marked improvement in self-confidence, social skills, and other beneficial qualities.

Considering the life-changing benefits that etiquette training offers, the reluctance of many educators to adopt this training seems shortsighted indeed. When public and parochial schools emphasize character education, their graduation rate is 98 percent, compared to the usual 50 percent seen in most public schools. In other words, public schools that fail to offer character-education training are almost ensuring that at least half of their students will be left behind!

For parents, educators and especially our children, etiquette education and character development pay big dividends that last a lifetime, making the E for etiquette result in children who will represent another E – extraordinary.

 Part 2/  Character-Education-how-and-what-to-teach-in-our-schools

If you want to find out more about Jeremy Willinger, please visit: 



I'm proud to say that the school district I work for has embraced character education. We have had a thriving character education program in my elementary school for a few years now. We have monthly assemblies that recognize children who are demonstrating various character traits. We have a "caught being good" program where our students can be recognized for admirable behavior every week. Now we are expanding our character education program by adopting PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support) in our district. We introduced PBIS to some of our students during a character education summer camp. The kids were involved in many activities that culminated in a video production about positive behaviors. So, there are districts out there that are doing something to address this important part of a child's development.
Posted @ Friday, October 16, 2009 9:20 PM by Tina L
Thank you, Tina! It is comforting to know that your school and district encourage character education. We need more educators like you in our schools. 
Lyudmila Bloch 
Posted @ Friday, October 16, 2009 10:27 PM by Mila Bloch
Wow! Great.Thank you for bringing the article into focus on your site.
Posted @ Friday, November 18, 2011 12:51 AM by pandora uk
I always told that character is developed during college years and paying attention to character education is very good idea to provide students with understanding how they should behave in society, to be confident and become successful people 
Posted @ Monday, February 23, 2015 9:42 AM by Michael Renken
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