THE INEVITABLE ROLE OF CHARACTER FORMATION IN SCHOOLS Man is a moral being. Historically, the mission of schools has been to develop in the young both intellectual and the moral virtues. Concerns for the moral virtues, such as honesty, responsibility, and the respect for others, are the domain of moral education. T. Okere maintained that “without Moral Education in our school curriculum, our future generations will continue to be systematically malformed, half-educated, mentally misshapen and spiritually dwarfed”. Then, Holmes (1929) posited that ‘the way to change our society is to foster the growth of child’s soul. Man is a composite being (body & soul). If we pay more attention to one invariably the other will suffer. There is need for harmony to exist between the duo. Your character is the real you. Character is the complex of mental and ethical traits making a person or is said to be the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determine his or her response regardless of circumstances. Everyone has character; it transcends race, religion, education, position, age, gender and personality. No wonder, Abraham Lincoln said: ‘reputation is the shadow.
Character is not just what we try to display for others to see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. ’ Good character is doing the right thing because it is right to do what is right. So, in order to make character, there is need for the formation of character. Character formation refers to helping children to acquire those virtues or moral habits that will help them individually live good lives and at the same time become productive, contributing members of their communities. In this view, moral education should contribute not only to the students as individuals, but also to the social cohesion of a community.
The word Moral comes from Latin root (mos, moris) and means the code or customs of people, the social glue that defines how individual should live together Men of God are respected; men of power are feared, whereas men of character trusted. No wonder German motto reads thus: when wealth is lost nothing is lost, when health is lost something is lost, when character is lost all is lost. When I talk of men of character I mean people of integrity because it involves wholeness. It is being upright in all our dealings. All men are alike in their promises; it is only in their deeds that they differ says Mollier.
Man is like a raw material or rather a crude oil that needs purification in order to remove the impurities. Hence, the centrifugal configuration of our educational system should be character education. This is so because character is the highest, if not the sole purpose of education. Pupils’ behaviours are characterized by their way of trainings than by their talents or natural design. Character formation being the object of education deals with individual and the whole system of his thoughts, believes, habits, values and all those part of his personality which are reflected in his behavior.
Character formation as an object of education should be a continuous process till the death of the individual. Education taken in the most formal way should adopt such patterns as to link itself with the particular environment, needs and the age of the recipient. And as such primary, Secondary and Higher Education should have a separate scheme based on their reasoning. At Primary and Secondary level it concerns itself with the instruction of some basic universal values to the children while deeper issues till higher education.
There cannot be true education which is not wholly directed to man’s last end. It is good to think well and divine to act well says Horace Mann. Character development is the greatest, if not the sole, aim of education. Thus, not education but character is man’s greatest need. A simple character of mine is how treat a person who can do absolutely nothing for me. Character once built is not easily destroyed, because character is the person’s second nature (secunda natura). Udeke, Charles Ndubuisi [email protected] com +2348051763367
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