Read chapter 8 of The road to character by David Brooks and address these:
Part 1: List of character and life shaping events and/or experiences. List no more than 6 character shaping events/experiences.
The following steps may be helpful to create the list.
Step 1: Read the Chapter or watch the film (In this case read Chapter 8) and take notes on all of the events and experiences that have impacted the life of the individual or situation presented (in these case the life of St. Augustine). It is better to take more notes than may be needed.
Step 2: Review your notes. Then select and make a list of those events and experiences that you feel are the most important in shaping the individual(s) life and character development. Take some time to reflect on this list to get a better feeling of these events and experiences.
Step 3: As you reflect on your list, try and identify what Brooks terms “Agency”- “…there is something significant that gives shape to life.” (p. 84). There are usually key moments or events etc. that help to shape one’s character and, on a wider scope, one’s life. This “Agency” may take the shape of a series of experiences etc. or it may be one significant moment that helps transform one’s life. An “epiphany” experience that helps to change one’s path in life.
Part 2: Bronfenbrenner and Brooks
List and briefly describe Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems and no more than 5 important ideas from Brooks that help describe and understand the shaping of one’s character. The Introduction Chapter 1 and 10 contain most of Brooks’ ideas. However, they’re some additional ideas in the case histories of the individuals presented in Chapters 2-9.
The following steps may be helpful.
Step 1: List and briefly describe each of the five Ecological Systems.
Step 2: List and briefly describe ideas/concepts about character development (e.g., U-Curve, Humility Gab, Agency events/experiences, the Big Me, Culture of Authenticity, Humility Code, etc. Note: Most of these ideas/concepts can be found in the Introduction, Chapter 1 and Chapter 10. List no more than five ideas/concepts from Road to Character.
Part 3: Applying Bronfenbrenner and Brooks’ ideas (Part 2) to the list created in Part 1.
Step 1: Match each event/experience in the list created in Part 1 to Bronfenbrenner and Brooks’ ideas. Some of the events/experiences may overlap with an Ecological System and a concept from Brooks. For example, an event that takes place in the Microsystem may also be explained by the U-Curve.
Step 2: Simply List the concept or idea (e.g., Microsystem, Agency Event etc. and under the concept describe the event/experience).
Part 4: Conclusions (Closing Paragraph)
The conclusion (closing paragraph) is a summary of your thoughts on the events/experiences that shaped who the person became. In some ways the Chronosystem is an appropriate way to view the conclusion.
The following steps may be helpful to formulate your Conclusion
Step 1: Review Parts 1-3 of the essay. Takes some time to stop and reflect on anything that moves you or provides some insight into the individual’s life. Simply write down what comes to mind.
Step 2: Sum up what you learned from the assignment. Some thoughts: Try and visualize the individual’s life over time, from early years to maturity. What life lessons came to mind from reading about the person? Did you learn anything new about character formation or reinforce your views on how moral integrity is created? How can the character traits that the person demonstrated be applied for Human Service Workers?
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