The School Counselor and Character Education
(Adopted 1998, revised 2005, 2011, 2016, 2022)
School counselors cultivate students’ character development by integrating character education programs into their school counseling program. The school counselor endorses and promotes the infusion of character education in the school curriculum by fostering participation of the entire school community.
Character education involves “the embodiment of multidimensional virtues as the core component of human moral functioning” (Brunsdon & Walker, 2021, p.3). The school counselor understands that teaching universal virtues that help people live and work together promotes healthy student development and academic achievement through reduced problem behavior, lower discipline rates and improvement in student self-concept (Brunsdon & Walker, 2021, Parker, et. al, 2010).
The School Counselor's Role
School counselors, along with teachers, administrators, family and the community, share the responsibility of teaching character education virtues. School counselors encourage character education activities by means of:
- developing a school philosophy and mission statement supporting positive character development
- establishing positive family-school-community partnerships
- implementing school counseling curriculum activities that promote positive character development while helping all students develop clear academic, career and social/emotional goals
- advocating for discipline policies that nurture the development of appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes
- utilizing proactive counseling methods that reinforce character education and lead to an increase in positive school climate
- encouraging student participation in extracurricular activities that include the involvement of students, school staff, parents/guardians and community members
- teaching skills in decision-making, conflict resolution, leadership and problem solving
- teaching communication etiquette in the technological world
- involving students in the development of school rules
- integrating multicultural competence and diversity appreciation into curriculum and activities
- developing student recognition programs focused on character traits involving families and communities in the character education program
School counselors collaborate with teachers, administrators, families and the community to teach and model behaviors that enhance each student’s academic, career and social/emotional development essential to making appropriate, healthy decisions.
Character education helps students achieve academic, career and social/emotional development goals to become positive contributors to society. The school counselor provides leadership and collaborates with teachers, administrators and the school community to promote character education for all students as an integral part of school curriculum and activities.
Brunsdon, J. J., & Walker, D. I. (2021). Cultivating character through physical education using memetic, progressive and transformative practices in schools. Journal of Moral Education, 1–17.
Parker, D. C., Nelson, J. S., & Burns, M. K. (2010). Comparison of correlates of classroom behavior problems in schools with and without a school-wide character education program. Psychology in Schools, 47(8), 817-827.