Friendship in the Age of Social Media: Friend-Collectors and Well-Wishers

What does friendship mean in a world of clicks, likes, emojis and pokes? The idea of a ‘friend’ is becoming increasingly unrecognizable; from a noun denoting some form of sanctuary, sympathy and simpatico to a verb conferring social status (or, in the case of ‘unfriending’, a lack thereof). Clearly real friendship predates social media. In... Continue Reading →

Should we still ‘marvel’ at comic book heroes?

An expected 200,000 fans will be flooding into San Diego over the next few days for the annual Comic-Con. With comic book based movies saturating the film market, is it time to ask: do these idolised superheroes display the character and virtues we hold in high regard for society? Over the past ten years, the... Continue Reading →

Ofsted, Inspections, and the Turn to Character

The University of Birmingham School’s (UoBS) bespoke character education programme has been singled out for praise after the first Ofsted inspection (May, 2018). In the report, Ofsted highlighted the School’s focus on ‘character education’ and recognised that the programme ensures that leaders promote pupils’ personal development well. Ofsted go on to report that ‘the development... Continue Reading →

Leo Tolstoy, Character Educator

It is Easter Sunday. After a cold winter, the sun shines. The melting snow waters form a muddy puddle in the village street. Two girls, Malásha and Akoúlya, begin to play in their new dresses. When Malásha splashes dirty water on Akoúlya an argument ensues that soon embroils the whole village. As the fathers of... Continue Reading →

Living Within Reason

AQUINAS ON CARDINAL VIRTUES Thomas Aquinas thought that people needed to work to develop four cardinal virtues.  All four help us to keep our balance, cope with frustration and disappointment, stand up for things that matter, persevere when we are inclined to give up, and enjoy the good and beautiful things in our lives. Temperance... Continue Reading →

Trust, Teaching and Character Education

Last week, Andria Zafirakou was announced the winner of the Varkey Foundation’s annual Global Teacher prize. Over the weekend, the Guardian published an interview with her entitled ‘Best teacher in the world Andria Zafirakou: ‘Build trust with your kids – then everything else can happen’. From a character education perspective, this interview is well worth a read. In it, Zafirakou mentions the importance of... Continue Reading →

Anger begets Anger: Three Billboards and the Role of Film in Promoting Moral Reflection

!SPOILER ALERT! I recently watched the thought-provoking film, ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, a movie that invites the viewer to reflect on classic ‘Western’ themes of justice and redemption, through the eyes of its righteously angry main character, Mildred Hayes. Seven months before the action begins we learn that Mildred’s daughter, Angela, had been raped... Continue Reading →

Is Human Rights the Only Moral Language We Need?

The year-long campaign in the run up to the 70th anniversary of the passing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10th December 2018 was launched this January. The Declaration, which proclaims the inalienable rights associated with the status of being a human being, marked a milestone in history and, exceptionally, continues to ensure mass support across a broad political spectrum.

The Character of the Religious Educator

Religious Education teachers should have ‘a tremendous sense of humour and a hide like a rhinoceros’, wrote Bernard R Youngman in 1953. The most successful author of RE textbooks in his day, Youngman was commenting on the qualities RE teachers needed to negotiate the lowly status of RE as a curriculum subject, and the contested... Continue Reading →

A new research project on parent-teacher partnerships

The opening lines of A Framework for Character Education in Schools state that, while parents/guardians are the primary educators of their children’s character, they want all adults who have contact with their children to contribute to that education, especially their children’s teachers. Motivating a new stream of research at the Jubilee Centre for Character and... Continue Reading →

Phronesis: The New Synthesis?

Psychologists have acquired newfound interest in examining moral development since Kohlberg’s famous studies in the 80s. Likewise, there has, in the last few decades, been a resurgence of interest in character education. We know a lot about how moral understanding and moral emotions develop. Yet the crucial question of what motivates moral behaviour, especially in... Continue Reading →

Teacher Education:  Character, ethics and the professional development of pre- and in-service teachers

“If we want character education to be embedded within our curriculum and practised in our schools then it needs to be included in teacher training and explicitly developed and recognised in the assessment of trainee teachers. It also needs to be reflected and enhanced in ongoing continuing professional development for teachers” Nicky Morgan MP (Taught... Continue Reading →

Kindness at Christmas

While it seems the run up to Christmas gets longer each year, with mince pies and brandy butter appearing on supermarket shelves well before Halloween, many still prefer to see the end of the month of November before decking the halls. Indeed, for centuries, the first Sunday of Advent (this year falling on the 3rd... 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 →

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