These are very strange times that we are living in - as I’m sure you have already noticed. It’s easy to feel overcome with anxiety and helplessness at the current situation the coronavirus outbreak has caused. However, there are things that we can all do to help one another, and, through doing so, help ourselves.... Continue Reading →
Reflections on Character Education From a Former Secondary School Teacher
Before coming to the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, I spent three years training and working as a secondary school teacher. Working in this role fuelled my conviction for character education within schools and allowed me valuable insight into the concerns that teachers have about the idea of its implementation. This blog explores those... Continue Reading →
What Makes A Habit of Service?
Think about the last thing you did to help someone else or the environment. It might be doing the food shop for your elderly neighbour, setting up a change.org petition, or volunteering at the local Park Run on a Saturday. Did you enjoy it? Did you feel it challenged you? Did you see the benefit... Continue Reading →
The Virtuous Poker Player: Is There Such a Thing?
The Godfather of Poker, Doyle Brunson, once said, ‘Poker actually isn’t about winning or losing; poker is about making the right decision.’ In my opinion, this is a very versatile saying. For example, if you were to substitute the word poker for life, you would have a quote worthy of an inspirational fridge magnet. Such... Continue Reading →
Flourishing From the Margins – Marginalised Young People with Purpose
The newly published Flourishing From the Margins research report published yesterday (October 26th) provides a rich and comprehensive dataset for the study of character development in marginalised young people. The literature review that began the study found a gap in the research of marginalised, and sometimes NEET, young people, with a dearth of studies considering... Continue Reading →
Value in the Community
The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership (CEFL) launched their Leadership of Character Education report at their National Conference in September. At the conference practitioners presented new character education initiatives used within their own schools; overviews of short case studies illustrated schools’ diverse approaches to, and examples of character education provision in both primary and... Continue Reading →
Have NHS Pressures Caused UK Nurses to Lose Their Moral Compass?
A new research report, launched on September 28 by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, reveals that NHS pressures are hindering ethical practice and caring among UK nurses. The new research reveals that eight in ten nurses face barriers to working in a caring and compassionate manner, and that staff reductions, time pressures and... Continue Reading →
Students at UK Business Schools Value Financial Rewards Over Honesty
A new research report, launched on September 27 by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, identifies honesty and integrity as important virtues for experienced business professionals, but finds such an awareness lacking among undergraduates, for whom financial aspirations trump any references to moral virtues or the common good. There... Continue Reading →
Developing Character Skills in Schools – A Teacher’s Response
The teaching profession's reaction to the recent publication of the Department of Education’s (DfE) report Developing Character Skills in Schools can best be described as mixed. The survey, the DfE’s first foray into the field of empirical research on character education provision, was completed by 880 education institutes, and the report has produced some interesting... Continue Reading →
New DfE Report on Developing Character Skills Acknowledges the Importance of a Moral Compass
It is gratifying for us working in the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues to see how the newly-published Summary Report by the Department for Education on ‘Developing Character Skills in Schools’ (August, 2017) cites our work repeatedly as providing leading theoretical insights into character education in UK schools. Kudos for work well done is... Continue Reading →
Gender Differences in Ethical Dilemmas
Throughout the ages there have been debates about gender differences in ethical decision making, from Aristotle to Aquinas to Freud. These arguments generally centre on the different ways men and woman make judgments when faced with a moral dilemma. Freud claims (1999, p. 237) that ‘in women the measure of what is ethically normal is... Continue Reading →
The Head, the Heart and the Hand
In this vlog, Professor Thomas Lickona discusses the teaching of character education to children and the challenges that teachers face. Drawing on his own experiences, Professor Lickona uses the story of one troubled boy to illustrate how a service to others can have a positively transformative effect on the behaviour and outlook of young people.... Continue Reading →
Aggression and Morality in Adolescents
It is often claimed that the world in which we live is full of cruelty, ruthlessness and violence. Media reports on violence among students often paint a bleak picture of teachers and the school environment struggling to cope with manifestations of aggression among young people. It was such a news story, which reported on an... Continue Reading →
Encouraging Virtuous Living Through Poetry
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words – Robert Frost In this blog post, I wish to describe my proposed PhD project that I’m undertaking as of this coming autumn. I’d like to begin by briefly explaining the concept of character education, before describing the elements of... Continue Reading →
Telling Stories: Using Cinema for Character Education Part I
The art of cinema is the art of telling stories. For thousands of years we have used the persuasive power of stories to build cultures, imbed morals and to understand what it is to be human. From Jesus’ parables to Grimm’s fairy tales, stories resonate with us on a far deeper level than rhetoric. Today,... Continue Reading →
Do Flawed Super Heroes or Saints Make the Best Moral Exemplars for Young People?
The role of moral exemplars in character education is often neglected, despite the fact that pointing to models of virtue is an effective way of reminding us of the kind of person we wish to be. It is common to hear teachers tell pupils to “be yourself, don’t copy anyone!”, making emulation sound like poor... Continue Reading →
Three Conceptions of Integrity and Two Important Questions
The virtue of integrity used to be the darling of virtue ethicists and character educators in the 1980s and 1990s, but for some reason it seems to have fallen out of favour. I return to that apparent ‘fall from grace’ at the end of the blog. During the halcyon days of integrity, three broad conceptions... Continue Reading →
Character Education in East Asia and England
The goals of character building in East Asian countries is often presented as a shared cultural construct and positioned within an East-West dichotomy. However, it is not at all clear that East Asian forms of character education are as easily identifiable and distinct or that they always transcend national and cultural values. The former Secretary... Continue Reading →
Is Honesty the Best Policy for the Ideal Business Professional?
Money, it is said, makes the world go round and the individuals who generate pounds, dollars and yuan are rarely out of the news. The world’s largest economy, the United States, is now run by a veteran businessman rather than a career politician. The elevation of billionaire Donald Trump to the Oval Office has ensured... Continue Reading →
Encouraging Pupils’ Virtue Literacy through the Visual Arts
Several years ago, I started to include philosophical discussions in my art classes, driven by my desire to deepen pupils’ moral reflection on art projects. I established a community of inquiry in groups of 8th grade pupils, and the first artwork I proposed was René Magritte’s “Not to be reproduced” from 1937. Given the paradoxical... Continue Reading →