ERIC Number: ED312643
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Life, Literature, and Character: Some Cornerstone Principles.
There is a widely felt need to do something in education about the moral wasteland of contemporary American society. It is appropriate for English teachers to posit some usable dimensions of moral education. Seven cornerstone principles appear to be universally involved both in the lives of literary characters and in the kind of heart-deep character development which educators try to nurture in students through the English curriculum. The seven principles are: design, authority, conscience, love, power, destiny, and wisdom. The principles suggest a possible thematic scope and sequence for a complete literature curriculum, both within and between grade levels. Within each grade level the central theme could be examined in the light of each of the other principles. Presented in this way, the cornerstone principles would generate a kind of spiral curriculum of morally educative units, each year adding to the students' understanding of important social and ethical values. Year after year, they can be engaged in a vital and personal experiencing of literature, be asked questions that require them to come to grips with some universal principles of character, and be motivated toward an active involvement in solving personal and community problems. A series of exercises revolving around Shakespeare's "Hamlet" illustrate how the cornerstone principles can be applied. Educators must recognize that character development is a lifelong process, and that there are more key factors outside the classroom than in it. (One figure is included; two extensive appendixes containing a character development ladder and a detailed examination of the cornerstone principles, and 82 endnotes are attached.) (MG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English Spring Conference (6th, Louisville, KY, March 26-28, 1987).