Character Education

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Character Education

Al-Ghazali's philosophy of education stated that; Education is not limited to training the mind and filling it with information, but involves all aspects—intellectual, religious, moral and physical—of the personality of the learner. It is not enough to impart theoretical learning; that learning must be put into practice. True learning is that which affects behaviour and whereby the learner makes practical use of his knowledge. (Ihya' ‘Ulum ad-Din, vol. 3, p. 61-62; Al-Ghazali).

Education should aim at the balanced growth of the total personality of man through the training of man’s spirit, intellect, his rational self, feelings and bodily senses. Education should cater therefore for the growth of man in all its aspects: spiritual, intellectual, imaginative, physical, scientific, linguistic, both individually and collectively and motivate all aspects towards goodness and the attainment of perfection. The ultimate aim of Muslim education lies in the realization of complete submission to Allah on the level of the individual, the community and humanity at large (Ashraf, 1985, p. 4).

As Dr. Thomas Lickona, author of Educating for Character, stated, “Moral education is not a new idea. It is, in fact, as old as education itself. Down through history, in countries all over the world, education has had two great goals: to help young people become smart and to help them become good.” Good character is not formed automatically; it is developed over time through a sustained process of teaching, example, learning and practice. It is developed through character education. The intentional teaching of good character is particularly important in today’s society since our youth face many opportunities and dangers unknown to earlier generations.

Studies show that children spend only 38.5 minutes a week (33.4 hours a year) in meaningful conversation with their parents, while they spend 1,500 hours watching television. Since children spend about 900 hours a year in school, it is essential that schools resume a proactive role by developing caring, respectful environments where students learn about values, habits, skills, self and right and duties. In order to create our schools as the caring and respectful communities we must be intentional, proactive and comprehensive in our work to encourage the development of good character in young people.