1st Edition

PRIMED for Character Education Six Design Principles for School Improvement

By Marvin W Berkowitz Copyright 2021
    184 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    184 Pages
    by Eye On Education

    Winner of the 2023 Outstanding Book Award from AERA's Moral Development and Education SIG!

    In PRIMED for Character Education, renowned character educator Marvin W Berkowitz boils down decades of research on evidence-based practices and thought-provoking field experience into a clear set of principles that leaders, administrators, and teacher-leaders can implement to help students thrive.

    The author’s original six-component framework offers a comprehensive guide to shaping purposeful learning environments, healthy relationships, core values and virtues, role models, empowerment, and long-term development in any PreK-12 school or district.

    This engaging and heartfelt book features tips for practice, anecdotes from award-winning schools, and straightforward tenets from moral education, social-emotional learning, and positive psychology.

    Part 1: Mapping the Terrain of Character Education 1. To the Point 2. Mapping the Terrain 3. Making the Case 4. PRIMED Part 2: Prioritization 5. What Does It Mean to Prioritize Character Education? 6. Making Character Education a Priority: Rhetorical Prioritization 7. Prioritization through Resource Allocation 8. School/Classroom Climate and Prioritization 9.  Structural Prioritization 10. Leading Schools of Character Part 3: Relationships 11. Why Relationships? 12. Relationships in School 13. Relationships with External Stakeholders Part 4: Intrinsic Motivation (or Internalization) 14. The What and Why of Intrinsic Motivation 15. The Perils of Extrinsic Motivators 16. Outside In: Designing Schools for Intrinsic Motivation Part 5: Modeling 17. Being Good 18. The Pedagogy of Modeling Part 6: Empowerment 19. What is Empowerment and Why is it Important for Character Education 20.  Empowerment Implementation Strategies Part 7: Developmental Pedagogy 21. Developmental Perspective: Thinking Long-term 22. Developmental Pedagogy: Educating for the Long Run Part 8: Final Thoughts 23. PRIMED for Character Education


    Dr. Marvin W Berkowitz is Sanford N. McDonnell Endowed Professor of Character Education and Co-director of the Center for Character and Citizenship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, USA.

    "If good character education is good education—and I agree with Marvin that it is—then you are holding in your hands a blueprint for good school design. Lucid, research-based, and practical—I recommend this to anyone who cares about the future of our children."

    —Angela Duckworth, Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA, and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

    "In PRIMED for Character Education, Marvin Berkowitz unpacks character education in a way to understand our personal responsibility to the future of our societies: the diversity of youth who cross our paths along the K-12 corridor. Through multiple personal and professional examples, he clearly points out to adults the power of our personal presence upon others. Dr. Berkowitz brings decades of teaching and mentoring of K-12 leaders to the academic landscape, and in this book he offers proof that ‘Character education embraced and lived out lays the foundational requirements for creating a better world.’"

    —Clifton L. Taulbert, President and Founder of The Freemount Corporation and author of Eight Habits of the Heart for Educators

    "In my last endorsement of his writing, I wrote, ‘This is Berkowitz at his best.’ I was wrong. This is. The PRIMED framework is one of the most important developments in character education in a long time."

    —Thomas Lickona, Director of the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs at SUNY Cortland, USA, and author of Character Matters and How to Raise Kind Kids

    "Marvin Berkowitz has dedicated his life to the flourishing of young people and, in this most recent of books, provides a reliable guide on how to get ‘PRIMED for Character.’ Clear, thorough, and readable, this is a very accessible book written from long and tested experience. This book is a must for educators and parents and will stir debate on why character matters so that young people can flourish regardless of what life brings."

    —Professor James Arthur OBE, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, UK

    "Marvin Berkowitz is our world’s foremost character educator and his new book overflows with useful tools and spot-on ideas. PRIMED for Character Education is nothing short of an evidence-based roadmap for educators to help their students understand, care about, and practice the character strengths that will enable them to flourish in school, in the workplace, and as citizens."

    —Arthur Schwartz, President of Character.org

    "I believe that there are no silver bullets or shortcuts in character education. Educators, parents, and children must ‘do the work’ if we are to build a better world in which human goodness can flourish. Having said that, Marvin Berkowitz has spent decades breaking down the code of what this looks like in real, practical terms, and here we have the result. The PRIMED model strikes the difficult balance between academic rigor and user-friendliness, and this book serves as a field guide for anyone in education who wants to make character education happen. Marvin's stories, sense of humor, and simple steps towards character have been transforming schools across the world." 

    —Henry May, CEO and Co-Founder of Coschool

    "Based on his knowledge and experience, Marvin Berkowitz probably knows more than anyone about what works, and what doesn’t work, in character education at all grade levels. This book is an absolute treasure—a valuable resource for any educator who wants to bring out the best in our young people."

    —Hal Urban, author of The Power of Good News

    "Marvin Berkowitz has spent a lifetime studying and experimenting with best practices that promote what he calls ‘the flourishing of human goodness.’  As a psychologist first concerned with enhancing adolescent moral development, he has evolved into the country’s premier character education advocate and spokesperson. The PRIMED model he developed grew out of 40 years of his academic investigations, his contacts with educators and thought-leaders throughout the world, and his practical experiences as the director of the gold standard in university-based character education leadership. PRIMED for Character Education will become the model for excellence in morally based democratic education and should be widely read by all those responsible for the education of our children."

    —Jacques Benninga, Professor of Education of California State University, Fresno, USA

    "Marvin Berkowitz’s PRIMED model combines research, illustrated with solid examples and common sense, to illustrate and inform educators on how they can develop schools that promote excellence for all stakeholders. This book should be required reading for all educators and others who are passionate about how schools can change the lives of students as well as the adults who teach and love them."

    —Philip Fitch Vincent, Director of the Character Development Group

    "PRIMED for Character Education will be a classic. A must-read for every educator, it is a treasure trove of big ideas about character and scores of strategies for principals and teachers. It’s an extraordinarily useful text because Marvin Berkowitz gives us the conceptual framework and practical tools to help our students become good people and productive citizens."

    —Thomas R. Hoerr, Scholar in Residence at University of Missouri–St. Louis, USA, Emeritus Head of New City Schools, and author of Taking Social Emotional Learning Schoolwide