Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The education of one's character is arguably the primary goal of education. Along with a person's desire to survive and conquer nature, our earliest ancestors strove to improve their own human nature. Early philosophers struggled both to understand the universe, but also how to draw humans to a higher level of existence. Socrates defined education as our labors to gain both knowledge and virtue, to help us become both smart and good. Historically, character education, then, has been seen as our efforts to make us morally better individuals. Character education is a term that has no agreed-upon meaning. The word itself comes from a Greek root, charassein , meaning “to engrave” as on a wax tablet or a metal surface. Its core meaning, then, refers to something that is written upon, something upon which marks are made. From this root evolved the conception of character as a distinctive mark or ...