Education for Character Development

Methods of Education for Character Development

I

At the outset, we need to examine the view that values cannot be taught and, therefore, character development cannot be a subject matter for teaching. It is argued that there is a valid distinction between pursuit of knowledge and pursuit of character development and that while knowledge can be taught, character development falls outside the purview of the teaching process. But when we examine this view more closely, we find that what is meant is that the methods which are valid and appropriate in the field of learning in regard to knowledge are not applicable to the field of learning in the field of values which are central in the process of development of character. We may readily accept this contention, and we may insist on the necessity of recognising the fact that corresponding to each domain of learning there are valid and appropriate methods and that the effectivity of learning will depend upon an ever-vigilant discovery of more and more appropriate methods in each domain of learning. It is clear, for example, that while philosophy can be learned and be taught by a process of discussion, swimming cannot be learned and taught by discussion. In order to learn to swim, one has to plunge and swim. Similarly, the methods of learning music or painting have to be quite different from those by which we learn mathematics or physics. And, indeed, when we come to the realm of character and values, we must recognise the necessity of a greater scruple in prescribing the methods which can be considered to be distinctively appropriate to this field.

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