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Annotated Bibliography

Books, articles, and research on character education.

The "Character Education Bibliography" was prepared by the California State University, Fresno, under a 1999 contract with the California Department of Education (CDE). These titles are provided for information only.

The CDE does not adopt, approve, endorse, recommend, or favor character education materials. The CDE has no plans to evaluate or have evaluated any additional character education resources.

The American Plutarch: 18 Lives Selected from the Dictionary of American Biography.
Edited by Edward T. James. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1964.
This book is a collection of biographies of famous Americans or a modern version of The Parallel Lives of Eminent Greeks and Romans by the ancient Greek Plutarch. The biographies, like those of Plutarch, are arranged in pairs — Jefferson and Hamilton, Lee and Grant, Jefferson Davis and Lincoln, etc. — and concentrate on very significant problems of historical responsibility and change. In each biography there is a focus on the individual's notions of public morality or civic virtue . Each exposes the pitfalls these great people faced in their lives.
The Book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories.
Bennett, William J. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1993.
Bennett has chosen classic literary pieces-poems and stories-arranged around ten virtues and sequenced from simple to more complex. For example, the section on Responsibility begins with simple poems for young children, then includes such classics as Tennyson's "The Charge of the Light Brigade,"and concludes with famous orations by Pericles, a section by Plato, and public documents by individuals such as Jefferson, Madison, Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. The other virtues documented include self-discipline, compassion, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, and faith.
Leading With Soul: An Uncommon Journey of the Spirit.
Bolman, Lee G. and Terrence E. Deal. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 1995.
This is not a book specifically about moral education or character development, but rather a dialogue on leadership by two top business consultants. Their advice includes a reminder that leadership is the offering of oneself and one's spirit; that a personal responsibility for work done allows employees to experience the "satisfactions of creativity, craftsmanship, and a job well done." The role of ritual and ceremony are explored within the context of the spiritual evolution of a manager with unrealized potential.
The Case for Character Education: The Role of the School in Teaching Values and Virtues.
Brooks, David, and Frank G. Goble. Northridge, CA: Studio 4 Productions. 1997.
This book is a revision of the authors' original 1983 version. It can be used as an introductory book for teachers and parents in schools serious about attempting to address character education in their curricula. The first set of chapters present an overview of the domain of character education, citing data and history, much of it from the original 1983 version of the book and thus somewhat dated. A chapter on the separation of church and state remains significant. In chapters 8 and 9 questions of concern are posed: Should character education be a stand-alone program or should it be infused throughout the curriculum? What do the California reform documents (Aiming High, Taking Center Stage, Elementary Makes the Grade!, and First Class) say about character education?
Carter, Stephen L. New York: Harper Collins. 1996.
This is not a book written specifically for educators. Rather, it is the reflections of a Yale Law School professor about an important topic and its relation to our day-to-day actions. Carter defines integrity as having three elements: discerning right from wrong, acting on what one discerns, and saying what one is doing and why. He then applies this criterion to a wide variety of examples from Watergate (and lessons about leadership) to contracts, to grading systems and grade inflation, from first amendment rights, marriage, to sportsmanship and civil disobedience. He writes of commitments, promises, forthrightness, and compassion. Carter presents examples from classic literature (e.g., Sophocles, St. Augustine), classic and modern legal cases (including the Senate confirmation proceedings for Clarence Thomas and the murder trial of O.J. Simpson), as well as from philosophy, theology, and history.
The Moral Life of Children.
Coles, Robert. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1986.
Coles, a child psychiatrist, interviews children about their lives in a continually conflicted society. Children from inner cities, poor rural areas, and well-to-do families serve as subjects as they discuss issues of race, social class, and other cultural conflicts in their own lives. The various chapters focus on moral energy, moral purpose, and vulnerability, in addition to defining character, idealism, and social class.
The Construction of Children's Character: The Ninety-sixth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education.
Edited by Alex Molnar. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1997.
This book presents an overview and critical assessment of theory and practices of contemporary approaches to character education in the schools. The book is organized into five sections. Section One presents the philosophical and historical contexts for the movement with chapters by Nel Noddings and James Leming. Section Two presents chapters endorsing and describing the traditional views of character and character education (Thomas Lickona, Edward A. Wynne, and Jacques Benninga). Other sections explore relationships between character education and multicultural education, caring, community (Geneva Gay, Beverly Cross, and Eric Schapps et al.); and criticisms of character education from political and methodological perspectives (David Purpel, Alfie Kohn, Alex Molnar).
Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in America's Homes and Schools.
Damon, William. New York: Free Press. 1996.
This book by a developmental psychologist provides a perspective on children's moral and intellectual development at odds with the intuitive child-rearing philosophy of the past 30 years. Damon critiques the "vacuousness" of the self-esteem movement in education with its consequent derogation of spirituality and faith. Damon argues for education, which focuses on instruction, prodding, challenging, correcting, and assisting students; in short, an education that is dominated by extrinsic motivational factors.
Educating Hearts and Minds: A Comprehensive Character Education Framework.
DeRoche, Edward F., and Mary M. Williams.Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc. 1998.
Edward DeRoche and Mary Williams' book can be used by schools when creating informed character education programs. In it they attempt to "merge ideas from research on character education with a synthesis of effective practices in character education in schools and across the nation." The framework they have developed is a nine-component model for a comprehensive character education program. Components include vision, standards, expectations, criteria to guide program development, the role of leadership, necessary resources, training, partnerships, and assessment. Each component is described in such a way as to allow the utilizing school to respond as it sees fit in relation to its student demography without feeling coerced into a particular way of thinking.
Moral Classrooms, Moral Children: Creating a Constructivist Atmosphere in Early Education.
DeVries, and Betty Zan. New York: Teachers College Press. 1994.
This book is for teachers of young children based on the developmental theories of Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Robert Selman. In it the authors describe a rationale based on constructivist theory of how teachers should look at children, classroom atmosphere, and school environments. The authors state that the basis for the book is that a sociomoral atmosphere must be cultivated in which respect for others is continually practiced. DeVries and Zan define a moral classroom as one in which the atmosphere supports and promotes children's holistic development.
Promoting Social and Moral Development in Young Children.
Edwards, Carolyn Pope. New York: Teachers College Press. 1986.
This is a book for teachers of children from two-six years of age. It not only explains children's intellectual development at these ages, but also focuses on their attainment of social and moral knowledge. The framework for the book is derived from the work of Lawrence Kohlberg and other developmental psychologists and educators.
Ethics for Professionals in Education: Perspectives for Preparation and Practice.
Edited by Kenneth A. Strike and Lance Ternasky. New York: Teachers College Press. 1993.
This book is directed to professionals seeking to understand the context of their ethical responsibilities. This edited volume is divided into three sections and its audience is educators at all levels. The first section explores philosophical thought on which ethical policy and curricula may be founded; the second section considers how ethics may be taught in schools and what factors interfere with ethics instruction in the schools; and the third section considers how institutional issues influence the perception of ethics in the classroom.
Values on Which We Agree.
Frymier, Jack, et al Bloomington, IN: Phi Delta Kappa. 1995.
This booklet summarizes the findings of a study on core values. Data were collected from 10,000 individuals in 1994 in which educators, noneducators, and high school students responded to exercises and questionnaires that dealt with values and schools. A major finding of this study was that "there are many, many areas in which there are high levels of agreement about values young people should learn." The areas of study included civility, freedom, separation of church and state, use of force, personal responsibility, and basic skills.
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
Goleman, Daniel. New York: Bantam. 1995.
The primary thesis of Goleman's book is that emotional intelligence may be more critical to success in life than brainpower as measured by traditional IQ and standardized achievement tests. To support this point, Goleman reports on an intriguing study conducted at Stanford University in which four-year-old children were given a choice between one marshmallow now or two later. The researchers were looking for the effects on later adjustment of children's ability to delay gratification. Goleman postulates that there is a "window of opportunity" for youth, lasting till about 16 years, during which experiences leading to either emotional health or emotional disorder become internalized. Goleman discusses both positive behaviors and at-risk behaviors that can result. The positive behaviors resulting from healthy emotional intelligence include a strong cultural work ethic, temperance, ability to cope with frustration, optimism, and empathy. At-risk behaviors resulting from an unhealthy emotional intelligence include impulsivity, shyness, stubbornness, overreaction to irritations, provocation of arguments, and fights.
The Moral Life of Schools.
Jackson, Philip W., Robert E. Boostrom, and David T. Hansen. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. 1993.
Over a period of two and one-half years, the authors of The Moral Life of Schools engaged in extensive observations in 18 elementary and secondary classrooms located in Midwestern public, independent, and parochial schools. They collected information about how to look at schools and how to think about what goes on in classrooms. In the process eight observational categories were derived to help the observer: 1) moral instruction as a formal part of the curriculum, 2) moral instruction within the regular curriculum, 3) rituals and ceremonies, 4) visual displays with moral content, 5) spontaneous interjections of moral commentary, 6) classroom rules and regulations, 7) the curricular substructure, and 8) expressive morality. The researchers found that many teachers inadvertently teach morality to their students "without the full awareness and thoughtful engagement of those in charge."
How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the Dilemmas of Ethical Living.
Kidder, Rushworth M. Fireside (Simon and Schuster, Inc.). 1996.
Rushworth Kidder is the Director of the Institute for Global Ethics in Camden, Maine and supervising editor of its curriculum materials. In this book Kidder defines a process for ethical decision-making, which provides the rationale for his character education curriculum. Kidder proposes a multidimensional model for making ethical decisions based on clear philosophical positions and practical examples of everyday moral dilemmas.
Why Johnny Can't Tell Right From Wrong: Moral Literacy and the Case for Character Education.
Kilpatrick, William. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1992.
In the tradition of the 1955 book by Rudolf Flesch, Why Johnny Can't Read , William Kilpatrick indicts the educational establishment and modern society for their failure to promote the character of its children. In this book Kilpatrick describes the current approach to moral education-the decision-making approach-and contrasts it to the historical character education approach. He argues a more focused approach based on traditional values and virtues. The final part of the book includes an annotated guide of over 100 books for children and young adults.
Books that Build Character: A Guide to Teaching Your Child Moral Values Through Stories.
Kilpatrick, William, and Gregory and Suzanne M. Wolfe. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1994.
This resource for teachers is intended to introduce the reader to books that help children from age four through high school develop moral thinking. Its focus is on the moral dimensions of reading. In the introductory chapters, the authors state that reading is important for four reasons: 1) stories create an emotional attachment to goodness; 2) stories provide a wealth of good examples on how to live; 3) stories familiarize students with the codes of conduct they need to know; and 4) stories help them make sense of life. Presented are chapters on the major categories of books (e.g., fables and fairy tales; myths, legends and folktales; sacred texts; historical fiction; contemporary fiction; biography; etc.). Each chapter is divided into general age levels. There is also an approximately 200-page annotated bibliography.
100 ways to Enhance Values and Morality in Schools and Youth Settings.
Kirschenbaum, Howard. Needham Heights, MA: Simon and Schuster. 1995.
This is a practical book for teachers, counselors, and others who work with groups of children. Kirschenbaum's comprehensive approach to values and moral education presents group techniques, mixing clarification and traditional value strategies for use in classrooms and schools. Kirschenbaum challenges teachers to inculcate, model, and train students in values education and help students find their own values as situations demand. He presents 100 strategies, with full explanations, that synthesize theory and research of the past 30 years.
Essays on Moral Development: The Philosophy of Moral Development (Vol. I).
Kohlberg, Lawrence. San Francisco: Harper and Row. 1981.
This is the first of two volumes of essays by the preeminent researcher of the cognitive-developmental perspective on moral development. In it, Dr. Kohlberg focuses on fundamental theoretical issues, including the relevant ideas of Plato, Kant, Dewey, Piaget, and Rawls and relates his now famous hierarchy of the six stages of moral development to political, religious, and philosophical questions. Various topics cover the imposition of values, the importance of dialogue to moral education, the universality of moral development, the teaching of justice in the public schools, and much more.
Essays on Moral Development: The Psychology of Moral Development (Vol. II).
Kohlberg, Lawrence .San Francisco: Harper and Row. 1984.
In this volume Dr. Kohlberg discusses the theory of moral development with a full description of the construction and derivation of his six stages. Kohlberg reviews the basic schools of thought behind moral psychology and sociology and distinguishes his cognitive-developmental research model from other approaches. Several chapters speak to the universality of the stages. Of particular interest is the last section of this book, which presents the moral dilemmas, originally developed by Kohlberg to study the development of justice notions and the research methodology used by him. The relationship of moral judgment to moral behavior is also discussed.
Character Education: Lessons From the Past, Models for the Future.
Leming, James S. Camden, ME: The Institute for Global Ethics. 1993.
James Leming reviews existing research on both moral and character education in relation to improving the moral thinking and behavior of students. Individual chapters deal with the history of the character education movement in the United States, the research base for the values clarification and moral dilemma approaches, the school's role in character formation, and directions for the future.
Raising Good Children From Birth Through the Teenage Years.
Lickona, Thomas. Toronto: Bantam. 1985.
Lickona presents the "10 Big Ideas" of the moral development approach. These include "morality is respect," "kids develop morality slowly and in stages," "teach by example," "teach by telling," "help kids take on real responsibilities," and "balance independence and control."
Educating for Character: How Our Schools Can Teach Respect and Responsibility.
Lickona, Thomas. New York: Bantam. 1991.
In this award-winning book for teachers Lickona states that good character has three interrelated parts-moral knowing, moral feeling, and moral behavior. Schools, in conjunction with the home, are essential partners in raising moral human beings. After an introductory section, Lickona presents a variety of classroom strategies for teaching respect and responsibility, including the moral role of the teacher, creating a moral community in the classroom, moral discipline, integrating values in the curriculum, conducting moral discussions, and teaching children to solve conflicts. The last section, updated since his 1985 book, discusses specialized topics, such as sex and alcohol education and working with parents.
Moral, Character and Civic Education in the Elementary School.
Edited by Jacques S. Benninga. New York: Teachers College Press. 1991.
Benninga's book presents both sides of the cognitive development and character education debate. After two introductory chapters outlining different perspectives and setting them in context, the bulk of the book presents, from both conceptual and practical perspectives, the indirect and direct approaches to moral and character education.
Character Education in America's Blue Ribbon Schools: Best Practices for Meeting the Challenge.
Murphy, Madonna M. Lancaster, PA: Technomic Pub. Co., Inc. 1998.
According to the author, "This book attempts to show what the best schools in America are doing to train students in moral values and ethics." Madonna Murphy, a Professor of Education at the College of St. Francis in Illinois, spent several years identifying and categorizing information on character education content from elementary and middle school applications for the National Blue Ribbon Award Program from 1985-94. Her goal was to report on these award-winning schools and to assess the effectiveness of the programs described by them. In the process she reviews programs said to educate children about drug resistance, motivation and self-esteem, character development, discipline, and citizenship education.
Caring: A Feminine Approach to Ethics and Moral Education.
Noddings, Nel. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1986.
Nel Noddings makes a theoretical case for human caring as the foundation of ethical responsiveness. She argues that while men base their ethical decisions on the application of universal principles, women base their ethical decisions on feelings, needs, impressions, and a sense of personal ideal. Morality, she advocates, should be based on a reciprocity between the person doing the caring (e.g., mother, teacher) and the one being cared for. In this sense she discusses thinking and feeling, guilt and courage, reciprocity, obligations, and lessons of right and wrong. Moral education is an enterprise of the whole community, and the task for teachers is to receive their students in their entirety and not just as receptors of subject matter.
The Moral Judgment of the Child.
Piaget, Jean. New York: The Free Press. 1965.
This book is the foundation for research on 20th century notions of children's moral development and understandings and was the inspiration for Lawrence Kohlberg's life-long study of moral development. In it Piaget gives detailed observations, with commentaries and examples, of how children at different ages and stages understand rules and play games, and how they interpret moral dilemmas. Piaget discusses topics such as children's perspectives on stealing, lying, distributive and retributive justice, and attitudes towards authority.
Promoting Moral Growth: From Piaget to Kohlberg.
Reimer, Joseph, D.R. Paolitto, and R.H. Hersh. New York: Longman. 1983.
Lawrence Kohlberg called this book "the best introduction to the cognitive-developmental approach of Piaget and myself available." In Part I the authors give a full account of Piaget's earlier theory and its relationship to the theory later proposed by Kohlberg. It takes a critical look at other approaches, particularly values clarification. In Part II moral education is presented in action. The purpose of Part II is to translate Kohlberg's theory into practice, with separate chapters on appropriate teaching strategies, the creation of curriculum materials, and an elaboration of the just community as an organizing structure for schools.
The Moral Base for Teacher Professionalism.
Sockett, Hugh. New York: Teachers College Press. 1993.
In this book, Sockett makes a case for professional ethics as a pervasive theme in teaching. According to him, the moral core of professional teaching is composed of four components: the individual character of each teachers, their commitment to change and continuous improvement, the depth of knowledge and understanding of the subject matter they teach, and their pedagogic strength (e.g., how well they teach what they know). While subject matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge are components of the intellectual dimensions of teaching, character and commitment comprise the moral dimensions. Both, he states, are necessary to define the profession. In several chapters, Sockett defines professional expertise as a virtue, concentrating on honesty, courage, care, fairness, and practical wisdom.
Promising Practices in Character Education: Nine Success Stories From Around the Country.
Vincent, Philip Fitch. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Character Development Group. 1996.
Philip Vincent has put together a collection of recent testimonials from school districts around the country describing their efforts at instituting character education programs. Included are descriptions of programs from North Carolina, New York, New Mexico, Indiana and Ohio. Each program described tells its own story, and in the process describes resources used, the vision of the planners, materials they found useful, and changes they have noticed in the children as a result of their efforts.
On Character: Essays by James Q. Wilson.
Wilson, James Q. Washington, DC: The AEI Press. 1995.
Wilson is the former President of the American Political Science Association and adviser to four presidents on issues related to crime, drug abuse, education, and other crises of American culture. In this book he has produced a series of essays related to character development and character policy. He argues that the development of character is our collective responsibility. The public interest depends on private virtue. Wilson argues throughout these essays that to have good character one needs to have at least developed a sense of empathy and self control. Wilson concludes with an argument that all humans have an inborn "moral sense."
The Moral Sense.
Wilson, James Q. New York: Free Press. 1993.
In The Moral Sense , James Q. Wilson describes how the human species is bound together by mutual interdependence and a common moral sense. Regardless of culture, gender or national origin, Wilson, a renowned social scientist, argues for the universality of what he calls a shared moral sense and elaborates with examples: sympathy, fairness, self-control, and duty.
Sandford Comprehensive Character-building Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers.
Wiley, Lori. Manchester, NH: Character Development Foundation. 1997.
Lori Wiley has produced an introductory book on character education planning. The first few chapters give the basis for developing such programs, explaining what character education is, why it is important, and how character is acquired; various methods for teaching character and several samples of ethical codes for classrooms and schools are presented. The middle section of the book gives information on curriculum strategies for building a positive classroom climate, a moral community in the classroom and school, and examples for correlating classroom discipline with moral development strategies. The last few chapters provide varied examples of curricula developed in the area of character education. The book ends with a list of references including books, films and information on resource centers and curriculum projects around the country.
Reclaiming Our Schools. A Handbook on Teaching Character, Academics and Discipline.
Wynne, Edward and Kevin Ryan. New York: Merrill. 1997.
The authors have written an annotated handbook for teachers and school administrators. The book opens with a checklist of activities that happen in a typical school and ask readers to document how students and faculty spend their time. After describing the background on the history of character education in Western tradition, individual chapters focus on teaching character and discipline, teachers as moral educators, the curriculum as a moral educator, leadership in moral schools, and the planning of recognition ceremonies to recognize outstanding students.
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