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ERIC Number: EJ1068211
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Oct
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1559-9035
The Case for Studying Character(s) in the Literature Classroom
White, Brian; Haberling, Jennifer
Journal of Language and Literacy Education, v2 n2 p1-21 Oct 2006
In response to increased violence, bullying, and anti-social behavior among young people in our schools and on our streets (Akiba, M., LeTendre, G., Baker, D., & Goesling, B., 2002; Leming, 1996; Males, 2001; Pellegrini & Bartini, 2000; Smagorinsky, 2002; Tendero, 2000), advocates of character education have proposed and instituted a number of programs designed to teach students to behave more civilly and safely, and to treat one another more respectfully (Smagorinsky & Taxel, 2005). In this article, Brian White and Jennifer Haberling respond by asserting their belief that questions of character ought to be at the very center of teaching and learning in literature classrooms, for "practicing a judgment of what we inevitably do with every story or drama that comes our way" (Booth, 1988, p. 232). In the remainder of this article, White and Haberling present their definition of "Character." Second, they argue that teachers of literature are perhaps uniquely situated to help young people cultivate concern for character by enriching students' understanding of and responses to the lives and decisions of literary characters. Third, they discuss the use of case studies as an especially promising approach to character education in literary studies. Finally, they tell the story of their use of prereading case studies in a literature classroom, demonstrating the ways in which the case studies served to help students develop, extend, and apply their concern for character in the literature classroom and beyond.
Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. 315 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-7866; Fax: 706-542-3817; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 10; Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A