The Twelve Principles of Character Education

A Shared Vision for Character Education













  The Twelve Guiding Principle of Character Education are based on the values the underlay American government and civil society. They are not specific behaviors but general character traits. They do not teach a child to be quiet when an adult is talking to them, rather it teaches the child to respect other people, and then as a mark of that respect to listen respectfully to what an adult tells them to do.

  These principles are compatible with bring a child up in any religious faith, or without a religious faith. They do not assume that any religious or moral belief system is correct, but rather avoid that question by teaching the basic traits that everyone agrees are important to becoming a person of outstanding character.

  There are certain core principles that are shared by everyone regardless of ethnicity, religion, culture, or moral perspective. These shared values because they describe a basic way of acting, not specific behaviors, that focus should never be lost in a public school. By teaching reinforcing underlying character traits schools can help to bind together the diverse communities they serve by highlighting these shared values.

  The Twelve Guiding Principles are the framework around which Counting on Character is built. They represent its core values. Each Guiding Principle is the word of the week for the first week of a month to highlight their importance. In a reduced program they can serve as a word of the month, in which case the Guiding Principle should be integrated into lesson plans for the entire month.

The Twelve Guiding Principles were originally developed by Martin Marrazo, Ph.D., and the International Center for Leadership in Education.