For over a hundred years, CSEE has been helping schools develop young people of strong moral character, empathy, compassion and civic engagement.
Why be intentional about character development?
The evidence shows us that if we intentionally foster social and emotional growth in students though autonomy, strong connections, and competence, kids will enter the world feeling better about themselves, their school, be more respectful and compassionate, and be better learners.
What makes CSEE different?
Our model differs significantly from most character development programs because we focus on changing students’ internal motivation—both academically and ethically. Most character education programs focus on trying to instill a set of virtues in students. What they often overlook is addressing students’ hearts so they WANT to act ethically; in other words, creating conditions where it would seem “out of character” for students to act any other way.
Why are ethical decision making skills not enough?
Think of the scandals that have made the headlines over the past decade. Many of these took place even though the guilty party knew what they were doing was wrong. CSEE helps schools create the conditions where there is more congruency between what they know they should be doing and what they do everyday. Want to know more? Check out David Streight’s book "Breaking Into The Heart of Character."
How is character development tied to academics?
Research has shown us that students in our classrooms will do their best academic work only when educators align their practices with what also fosters moral and ethical growth: autonomy, relationships, and competence. When we focus on changing students’ internal motivation, both academically and ethically, academics improve in tandem with character development. Character development curricula can be helpful for achieving certain goals, but the strongest foundations are laid without additional subject lessons that have to be crammed into an already busy academic schedule. These are simple, practical techniques that every teacher can implement everyday, in every classroom.
What if I have pressing issues like bullying and academic integrity?
There are some immediate resources that we can recommend that address academic integrity and bullying in the short-term. While these resources can be helpful, long-term impact on these issues is best achieved through adjustment of the school's ethical culture. This is what CSEE’s focus is all about: changing student’s hearts so they WANT to act ethically.
Are you ready to move from ethical knowledge to ethical action?