The Science of Character

Tiffany Shlain
July 6, 2015

With so many devices and messages feeding us information and shaping who we are, it is incredibly poignant that there is a renewed interest in character education bubbling up from many different sectors of society, especially in schools. As the world is becoming more complex, we are craving new sets of tools and guides offering ways to live purposeful and successful amidst the 24/7 hyperconnectivity.

I think that’s why The Family Online Safety Institute is so important now. We need guides to help us filter the noise. And I think that’s why character education is resurfacing so much. We need guides to help us be good people and raise good people. It seems we’re at the beginning of a zeitgeist, where character education is becoming more mainstream. It is exciting as a filmmaker to take a subject as rich and complex as character, and bring these ideas to life in an engaging and accessible ways.

We started Character Day last year, as a global premiere of our eight minute film, The Science of Character, that explores the neuroscience and social science behind character development.

Along with the film, we offered discussion materials, resources and a global online Q&A with experts in the field of character education. The appetite for this conversation was absolutely amazing, with over 1,500 schools, organizations and families participating.

JOIN US FOR CHARACTER DAY 2015 September 18, 2015

This year we’re premiering two new films: The Adaptable Mind (explores skills we need to flourish in the 21st century) and The Making of a Mensch (explores character education through the ancient Jewish teachings of Mussar). We are also expanding the online resources with more research and more perspectives (character through science, education, philosophy, religion, and more); we are holding an even more robust and global live online conversation through Google Hangout (different segments hosted by different scientists, authors, educators, etc).

There are already nearly 2,000 events in the works, in homes, neighborhoods, schools, congregations, workplaces, etc. We would absolutely love for you to join. Character Day is generously supported by grants, so participation is no cost. Your event can be anywhere, anytime on September 18 (or close to it!). Some events are home screenings after dinner, others are neighborhood gatherings with friends, and some are community-wide with 3,000+ people. Character Day is an armature to create an experience that works for your family and community.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.

Written by

Tiffany Shlain

Tiffany Shlain is a mother, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and founder of The Webby Awards. She has received over 70 awards and distinctions for her films, which include the Sundance feature documentary Connected, Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks (both a film and a TEDBook), and her hit AOL series The Future Starts Here, which has received more than 40 million views since its debut last fall and a 2014 Emmy nomination. She lectures around the world, and was named by Newsweek as “One of the women shaping the 21st Century.”