Performance Values
CEP's view of character recognizes two aspects: core ethical values and performance values.

These two aspects of character are mutually supportive. The core ethical values enable us to treat each other with fairness, respect, and care, and ensure that we pursue our performance goals in ethical rather than unethical ways. The performance values, in turn, enable us to act on our ethical values and make a positive difference in the world. We take initiative to right a wrong or be of service to others; we persevere to overcome problems and mend relationships; we work selflessly on behalf of others or for a noble cause, often without recognition or reward. In all realms of life, good intentions aren’t enough; being our best requires work.

Because performance character has received less attention in the literature than moral character, CEP published in April 2008 a position paper on how to develop performance values. The paper includes 10 practices—some schoolwide, some classroom-focused—that are supported by research and used by exemplary educators. To learn more, read the full paper by clicking the link to the right, but below are a shortened version of the 10 suggested practices.

These school-based strategies do not replace the important contribution that parenting practices make to performance character development; nor do they reduce the need for schools to reach out to families as partners in encouraging their children’s effort and learning. But these 10 practices, especially taken together, can help to shape a school and peer-group culture that maximizes the motivation to learn and achieve, even in students who might not bring such dispositions to the classroom.

As character educators, how can we foster students’ capacity to work and commitment to doing their work well, in school and throughout life?

See Ten Ways Schools Can Foster the Development of Performance Character