Character & Community Development


Character and Community Development was written for educators and other concerned citizens who want to better understand how moral character develops in children and what they can do to help children in their families, classrooms, and communities become good people and responsible citizens. Vessels views moral character as consisting of individual integrity plus social integrity.  Individual integrity includes the primary virtues of kindness, courage, ability, and effort.  Social integrity includes the primary virtues of friendship, teamwork, and citizenship. He recommends an approach to building integrity and moral character that combines the best of both direct and indirect instruction.  His core curriculum is based on what we know from research about the characteristics of students at each age level (developmentally appropriate).  Like Dr. James Comer, he contends that we must promote  growth in all domains of development: cognitive-intellectual, knowledge-skill, moral-ethical, artistic-creative, personality-individuality,  emotional-affective,  physical-maturational, and communicative-linguistic.  His strategies use six theory supported avenues to learning, which he believes are complementary and mutually supporting.  He refers to these avenues as learning modes and aligns them with the five E's in Kevin Ryan's similar scheme: Experience, Expectations, Ethos, Example, Explanation.  


"Do you want to know more about the theoretical foundations of character education? Or are you looking for character-building lessons to employ in your classroom? Perhaps you are searching for ways to implement character education in your school or district. Whichever it is, you will find it addressed in Gordon G. Vessels' Character and Community Development: A School Planning and Teacher Training Handbook.

Vessels' book is brimming with psychological insight, as well as with practical suggestions for educators and parents. I find myself consulting it repeatedly. I recommend it to all who are seriously interested in promoting individual and community integrity.

Vessels book contains
numerous descriptions of instructional techniques and includes references to additional resources." Jim Hillesheim, Professor of Education, University of Kansas.

First published in 1998 by Praeger, 88 Post Road Westport, CT 06881.
(www.greenwood.com). ISBN: 0-275-96133-8. Both new and used copies are available through Amazon.



"The single most valuable thing about the book is the review of developmental stages of children including moral development, and what best practices in character education and a variety of strategies would look like for each of those grades. . . . A wonderful resource; a wonderful book."  Kristin Fink, Executive Director, Commnity of Caring, Washington, D.C.


"Complete practical guidance for the development of school-wide, as well as classroom strategies for character education. . . Sensitive to issues of church-state relations, [Vessels'] work can be followed and implemented with confidence." James Fowler, Ph.D., Director, Center for Ethics in Public Policy, Emery University.


"A well articulated, developmentally grounded approach to character education. . . .[The book] provides a wealth of practical information and tools for educators and others concerned with children's moral and character development." Victor Battistich, Ph.D., Developmental Studies Center, Oakland, CA.






Links to Chapters:
Contents    Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Index