Character Education is one of Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School’s four pillars. We believe that character education is key component of a student’s social, emotional and academic development. Character Education is infused throughout the curriculum and taught explicitly.
The following pillar document outlines the defining principles and background for our approach to community service.
1. Character Education is taught primarily through the core virtues of Justice, Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude and their sub virtues.
2. Members of the BFCCPS Community (students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, etc.) strive to live a life that demonstrates good character and models that character for others.
3. Character Education instruction is integrated across the curriculum and across the four pillars in both formal and informal ways, using a common language throughout grades K-8.
4. Character Education is taught and practiced using a variety of methods, which may include the following:
- examining role models and themes from history and literature
- teaching social skills that demonstrate respect for others
- doing role-plays to practice virtuous behavior
- using books, songs and video to help students discuss and visualize situations requiring careful reflection, good decision-making and right actions
- holding class meetings with specific emphasis on listening to others and solving problems that arise
- giving brief character talks on the virtue/sub-virtue in focus
- using character education journals, where students write definitions, illustrations, stories, goals, and personal reflections
5. Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School regularly enhances its repertoire of resources to achieve the objectives of the Character Education program.
6. Students are recognized publicly at grade-level assemblies for showing virtuous behavior.
7. The entire community focuses on the same virtue each month.
Character Education Background
Aristotle (and many others after him) said that without good habits, people can never be truly happy. For social, moral, civic, and personal reasons, parents and teachers have a responsibility to help students develop good habits. That’s really what a virtue is: a good habit. A virtue is not a point of view or a matter of what we like or dislike; a virtue is a positive character trait.
Character Education is about helping students know the good, love the good, and do the good.
The founders of BFCCPS chose to focus on four core virtues, historically known as the “cardinal virtues”: Justice, Temperance, Fortitude, and Prudence. Within each of these virtues, there are related sub virtues. For example, Justice encompasses respect, kindness, and fairness. Prudence includes wisdom, honesty, and integrity. Fortitude involves courage and determination. Courtesy and self-control are aspects of Temperance.
Classical Definitions of the Core Virtues
Justice is the constant and firm will to give to others their due. The just person is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. The Golden Rule applies here: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Prudence guides reason to discern the true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it. It has been said that Prudence is “right reason in action.” Prudence is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. Prudence guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure.
Fortitude ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in life. Fortitude enables one to conquer fear and to face trials and persecutions.
Temperance ensures the mastering of our impulses for our own good and for the sake of the happiness of those around us. It directs us toward what is good and healthy. Key in understanding this virtue is that a person is not free if she cannot master her desires and impulses; she either masters them or she is enslaved by them.