Character and Civic Ed conference looks at teacher empathy

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  • Michelle Barboa

Character and Civic Ed conference looks at teacher empathy

Dr. Michele Borba, an internationally renowned expert on children’s moral and social development, will highlight Fresno State’s 33nd annual Conference on Character and Civic Education from 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 10 at the Fresno Convention Center’s Exhibit Hall (M and Inyo), where 13 exemplary Valley middle and high schools of character well be recognized.

Borba speaks at 8:30 a.m. and will discuss “Teaching Empathy: Why ‘the Other Side of the Report Card’ is a Must for Student Success.”

That opening session will include a school recognition award ceremony following the keynote address. Also honored at the event will be exemplary teachers of the year from Fresno and Madera counties.

The all-day conference is the longest running character education conference in the U.S., said Dr. Jacques S. Benninga, professor in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development. Benninga directs the conference along with co-director Jane Moosoolian and Dr. Susan Schlievert.

The conference, presented by the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, is designed specifically for students in the teacher education credential programs at Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University. Attendees can choose from 30 workshops on professional ethics and professional decision-making.

“The student teachers are provided with important concepts and considerations related to the ethical implications of what teachers do as professional educators and to reinforce for them their vital role as shapers of children’s character,” Benninga said.

He said the Fresno State Character and Civic Education Conference provides hundreds of prospective teachers with information on local civic agencies devoted to assisting children and families with life issues. The student-teachers are presented with ethical issues facing today’s teachers and given professionally appropriate strategies to deal with the issues and enhance character strengths in their students.

Borba is an author and expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying and moral development. Her work aims to help strengthen children’s character and resilience, create compassionate and just school cultures and reduce peer cruelty.

She is author of 22 parenting and educational books that have been translated into 14 languages. Her most recent book is “UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.”

Borba’s work has been featured on Dr. Phil, Dateline, The View, The Doctors, Fox News, The Early Show, MSNBC and CNN and well as in Newsweek, People, Good Housekeeping, Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, Washington Post and The New York Times. She is also a national media consultant for major corporations and an advisory board member for Parents magazine. 

For further information contact conference co-directors: Benninga at 559.278.0253 or jackb@csufresno.edu; Moosoolian at 559.278.0115 or janem@csufresno.edu; or Schlievert at 559.278.0348 or susansc@csufresno.edu.

Schools to be recognized and honored include:

PARKVIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL

     Armona Union Elementary School District

ALTA SIERRA INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

CLARK INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

GRANITE RIDGE INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

KASTNER INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

JOHN MUIR MIDDLE SCHOOL

      Corcoran Joint Unified School District

PIONEER MIDDLE SCHOOL

     Pioneer Union Elementary School District

SANGER COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL

     Sanger Unified School District

LA JOYA MIDDLE SCHOOL

     Visalia Unified School District

BUCHANAN HIGH SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

CLOVIS HIGH SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

CLOVIS NORTH HIGH SCHOOL

     Clovis Unified School District

KINGS RIVER HIGH SCHOOL

     Sanger Unified School District