Student teachers learn about character education at conference

FRESNO, Calif.

Student teachers are learning how to teach an important skill to their future students: character. Keynote speaker Maurice J. Elias is a psychologist and professor at Rutger's University. He says shaping a child's future goes beyond a textbook lesson.

"All of our research shows that smart is not enough for the 2st Century, so I am working on that other side of the report card," said Elias.

Fresno State's Education Department Chair Jacques Benninga says the School of Education realized many years ago that this conference was necessary.

"We offer this to our students to emphasize to them that it's their responsibility not only to teach academics and get their kids up to academic proficiency, but also to make sure that their students who leave here can be full participating citizens," said Benninga.

The annual conference also presents schools with awards for implementing character and civic education into their program. Madison Elementary and 29 other school where recognized on Friday morning.

A total of 69 schools submitted an application to be considered for an award from the Virtues and Character Recognition Program. Sundale Principal Cindy Gist says she is proud of her single school district and her staff's hard work.

"We do believe it is more than educating the child; it's educating the complete child, which includes the moral development of the child, the integrity and the character," said Gist.

This is the conferences 30th year, making it the longest-running character education conference in the country.

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