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Frase de la Semana

The very spring and root of honesty and virtue lie in good education. Plutarch

Centre Publishes Statement on Character, Virtue and Practical Wisdom in Professional Practice

13/10/16

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is delighted to publish its Statement on Character, Virtue and Practical Wisdom in the Professions. The statement is founded on research conducted by the Jubilee Centre which explored character and virtues in lawteaching and medicine, and others in the field and has been developed in consultation with members of various professions, educators, policy makers, professional organisations and academics. The overall aim of the statement is to open up space for renewed debate, discussion and dialogue about the place of character, virtue and practical wisdom in professional practice. A key aim of the statement is to suggest some ways in which education and training for professional practices might be improved to accommodate the development of phronesis and the cultivation of virtuous character. You can read the statement in full here.

 

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Policy Brief: Character and Social Mobility

13/10/16

The Jubilee Centre has published an evidence-informed policy brief on Character and Social Mobility. Informed by the latest research, this brief seeks to highlight the value of social mobility to broader society, using the prism of character and character education to explain what a socially mobile Britain could and should mean in practice. It brings together a selection of evidence to outline how character can enhance social mobility and places this evidence within the Jubilee Centre’s character framework. The paper is available to view here. For other policy briefing papers by the Jubilee Centre see this page.

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Thank You Letters Awards targets record entries for 2017

13/10/16

The Jubilee Centre's national Thank You Letter Awards is now open for submissions for the 2017 contest. The Awards invite young people to write a thank you letter to someone or something that has made a difference to their lives, the lives of others or society more generally. Last year, more than 200 schools across the UK took part with pupils aged 5 to 16 contributing 41,000 letters.  With the launch of the 2017 competition, the Centre hopes to build on this success and sign up many more schools. Schools are encouraged to hold their own Thank You Letter competition, with vouchers provided as prizes, and submit the best letters to the national competition. Find out more about how to get involved here.  Read more about the Thank You Letter Awards and what young people are grateful for, as well as extracts from some of last year's winning letters in this blog postpress release was also issued to interested media parties. 

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Publishes in Oxford Review of Education

12/10/16

Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson has published an article on the need to extend an Aristotelian account of flourishing, in Oxford Review of Education. The article can be accessed by clicking here and the abstract for the paper can be found below:

"Flourishing, understood along Aristotelian or quasi-Aristotelian lines as objective eudaimonic well-being, is re-emerging as a paradigm for the ideal aim of education in the 21st century. This paper aims to venture beyond the current accounts and Aristotle’s own, by arguing that both suffer from a kind of ‘flatness’ or ‘disenchantedness’ in failing to pay heed to the satisfaction of certain impulses that have been proven to give fullness to our lives: impulses having to do with awe-inspiring emotional attachments to transpersonal ideals. I thus argue that while Aristotelian flourishing is a necessary place to begin, it is not a sufficient one to conclude, a study of human flourishing, either generally or in classroom contexts; it needs to be extended and ‘enchanted’ in order to do so. That venture does not necessitate an embrace of supernaturalism, however."

 
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Prime Minister Praises University School of Character

12/10/16

Prime Minister, Theresa May, has recognised and praised the new University of Birmingham School in recent speeches where she has emphasised a commitment to ‘delivering a good school place for every child’. Dedicated to character education, the University of Birmingham School opened in September 2015 and delivers a bespoke curriculum, developed in close collaboration with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, that focusses on character. In a speech, titled ‘Britain, the great meritocracy’, given on 9th September 2016 at the British Academy in London, the Prime Minister spoke about the ‘impressive’ new University of Birmingham School as a great success to build upon, and emphasised the benefits of universities sponsoring and supporting local and new schools.  In her speech at the recent Conservative Party Conference, held in Birmingham 2nd – 5th October, she also highlighted the University of Birmingham School as an example of a school that ‘suits the skills, interests and abilities of every single pupil’.  The Jubilee Centre is currently working closely with the school as part of the Schools of Virtue project to determine 'what works' in character education.

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HRH The Duke of Cambridge Supports New National Character Education Scheme

11/10/16

On Monday 10th October 2016, His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge lent his support to a new and pioneering national character education scheme to help school children develop an inner strength for life.

The SkillForce Character Award pilot programme has started this term at 37 primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland, and Wales, and involves 1,013 pupils aged five to 14-years-old. The award programme has been developed with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, and involves practical activities and challenges, inside and outside of the classroom. 

Professor James Arthur, Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, commented: “We at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues are delighted to work with SkillForce as their key academic partner for this character award. This award will help five to 14-year-olds across Britain develop essential virtues including inner strength, the ability to make good and wise choices, compassion, self control, leadership and most importantly practical wisdom that is essential for human flourishing.”

In launching the SkillForce Character Award at the 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala dinner in aid of SkillForce, HRH The Duke of Cambridge said: "SkillForce specialises in character education in primary and secondary schools, taking children who are otherwise struggling with their school lives through a programme of activity designed to teach them resilience, confidence, determination and discipline."

The Character Award programme is available on the SkillForce website here

The SkillForce press release, including the full transcript of HRH The Duke of Cambridge's speech is available here.

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Dr David Walker Presents Centre Research at Universities in Taiwan

10/10/16

On Friday 7th October 2016, Dr David Walker, a Research Fellow at the Jubilee Centre, gave the keynote presentation at the '2016 International Conference on Education Innovation in the E Era' at the National Taichung University of Education.  His talk, entitled 'Good Friendships among Children: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation' described research in UK primary schools which was carried out as part of the Jublee Centre's Character Education in UK Schools project.  In the talk the argument was made that children as young as 9 and 10 years old are capable of high quality friendships.  Dr Walker also presented this work to staff and students in the Department of Education at National Tainang University on Thursday 6th October.  A paper of the same title has also been published recently in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour; view the paper here.

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Professor Robert C. Roberts Gives Lecture as Part of 'Why Philosophy Matters' Series

06/10/16

Professor Robert C. Roberts, Professor of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre and joint Chair with the Royal Institute of Philosophy, delivered a lecture at Bloomsbury Publishing in London on Wednesday 5th October 2016 as part of the Why Philosophy Matters series of events. The lecture was titled ‘Why Humility Matters’. The event details can be accessed here and the abstract for the lecture can be found below:

Some may think the question — Why does humility matter? — is the wrong one. The right question, they may think, is, How can we eradicate it? So we must first outline a plausible account of humility as a virtue, even if, as we admit, some people clearly use ‘humility’ as a vice-word. I will propose that virtuous humility is best thought of as an absence: an absence of the concerns and integrated patterns of thought that are the vices of pride — vanity, snobbery, arrogance, and domination, for example. This absence must be surrounded and supported by other virtues of other types: justice, compassion, truthfulness, pride, courage, and perseverance, for example. Why, then, does humility matter? It matters because it supports these other virtues. In doing so, it’s a ground of eudaimonia or happiness. It is a kind of openness to others in which their spiritual beauty can be revealed and appreciated. It facilitates knowledge and understanding. It facilitates peace, social harmony, and interpersonal wellbeing. It effects all these goods by way of minimizing or eliminating the vices of pride, which in their various ways impede or exclude these goods. 

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Centre Co-Hosts Fringe Events at Labour and Conservative Party Conferences

04/10/16

On Monday 26th September and Tuesday 4th October 2016, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues hosted a fringe event at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, respectively, in collaboration with think-tank Demos. Exploring the theme ‘The Longer School Day: A Revolution in Character Education?’ the events came after the recent publication of the Centre’s briefing paper ‘Building Character through the Longer School Day which captures the key research on this topic and informed the debate. Taking the form of a panel discussion followed by a Q&A session, speakers at the two events included Director Professor James Arthur, Lord James O’Shaughnessy, Lucy Powell MP, President of ATL Shelagh Hirst, CEO of Step Up To Serve Charlotte Hill and Head of Citizenship and Political Participation at Demos Ralph Scott. The Q&A sessions were chaired by Sonia Sodha, Chief Leader Writer at the Observer and Laura McInerney from Schools Week. Both events were well attended and generated lively debates about the role schools, alongside parents and community organisations, play in developing the character virtues of children and young people. 

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Deputy Director Gives Key Note Lecture at ARETAI Inaugural Conference

03/10/16

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson gave a keynote presentation, entitled 'Flourishing as an educational aim', at the Inaugural Conference of ARETAI, a new centre for the study of virtue, at the University of Genoa, Italy, on 29th September 2016. The new centre is a partner of the Jubilee Centre, and the conference focussed on connecting virtues via both theoretical and educational means. A conference programme is available here, and Kristján's presentation is available to view below.

 

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Deputy Director Gives Keynote at Joint Royal Institute of Philosophy and Open University Conference

23/09/16

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson gave a keynote presentation, titled ‘Awe and Self-Transcendence’, at the Owning Our Emotions: Emotion, Authenticity and the Self conference on 21st September 2016. The conference was organised by the Open University in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Philosophy.  The conference aimed to capitalise on the progress that has been made in recent years in the philosophy of emotion, and to draw on work from a range of philosophical traditions to address questions such as: How do emotions, the personality and the self relate to each other?; Is there an ‘emotional self’?; What do our emotional responses say about us, about our ‘character’? You can find out more about the conference at this link. To view Prof. Kristjánsson’s presentation click here.

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Jubilee Centre Develops Resources for Marginalised Young People

15/09/16

The Jubilee Centre’s Character and Values Amongst Marginalised Young People project, which aims to challenge the misconceptions around young people who are disengaged from mainstream society (those not in education, employment or training), has developed a bank of character based learning resources. The resources have been developed in consultation with a number of UK youth organisations and are currently being trialled by 480 young people in non-mainstream settings; these include pupils excluded from mainstream schools, those attending youth groups, and individuals on the margins of, or already involved in, criminal activity. The research and interventions aim to contribute to the understanding of character amongst marginalised young people and provide worthwhile interventions that may address some of the difficulties they face.


You can read more about the project and the interventions being developed in this Virtue Insight blog post.

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Centre to Welcome Students onto the World's First MA in Character Education

15/09/16

The Jubilee Centre will welcome students onto the world's first MA in Character Education on 19th September 2016. The exciting new programme begins with Induction Week on 19th September, followed by the first module 'Theories of Character, Virtues and Flourishing' led by Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson. This programme will equip students with the latest theory and research in character education, as well as the knowledge and tools for character education practice in more or less formal educational settings. As a distance learning programme it offers both flexibility and an opportunity to debate key questions about the purpose of education with fellow students around the world.

 

Find more about the course, and how to apply, here.

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Centre Director and Research Fellow Visit United States Military Academy, West Point

14/09/16

Professor James Arthur and Dr. David Walker visited the US Military Academy at West Point on 10th and 11th September 2016 as part of the Soldiers of Character project, which is exploring character and virtues among junior officers of the British Army. The purpose of the visit to West Point was to learn how character is developed among officer cadets there and in the US Army more generally. During the visit, Prof. Arthur and Dr. Walker were hosted by Major Scott Parsons and visited the Simon Centre for Professional Military Ethic and the Center of the Army Profession and Ethic. The visit was extremely useful and provided an opportunity to discuss future collaborations between the Jubilee Centre, the Simon Centre for Professional Military Ethic and the Center of the Army Profession and Ethic at West Point.

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Centre Academics Write for Research Intelligence Special Issue

13/09/16

The summer 2016 issue of BERA’s Research Intelligence, a special issue focussing on Character, Values and Ethics, features two articles by Jubilee Centre academics, Dr Tom Harrison and Professor David Carr.  The issue explores different perceptions on the role and importance of character, values and ethics in education.

Dr Tom Harrison's article, written with Matthew Bawden - a teacher who worked on the project at the Jubilee Centre - is titled ‘Teaching Character Through Subjects’ (pg. 15-16) and provides an overview of the Department for Education funded project of the same name. The project worked across England with 29 teachers from 28 state funded schools to create an innovative resource for building character within 14 subjects across the school curriculum.   The resources, and a report about the project, are available to download at this page.

Professor Carr’s article, titled ‘Academic and Theoretical Perspectives on Character Education’ (pg. 19-20) looks at how modern theorisation of character education, with its emphasis on the character and virtues, can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, and in particular, the work of Aristotle. 

View the issue here.

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Centre Holds Consultation on Virtue in the Professions at Windsor Castle

12/09/16

On 8-9th September 2016, the Jubilee Centre hosted a consultation on the role of character and virtues in the professions at St. George’s House, Windsor.  The consultation was attended by practitioners and academics across medicine, law, teaching, banking and business, and included a number of consultants to current Jubilee Centre projects, in particular, the NursingBusiness and Finance, and Interventions with Student Teachers, Lawyers and Doctors projects.

The purpose of the consultation was to discuss the place of character and virtues in a range of professional practices, and how they might be incorporated into the training and education of those professions. The output from the consultation is a draft statement on the role of virtues in the professions, which the Jubilee Centre is finalising, and will publish in due course. The statement follows previous similar publications by the Centre; the Framework for Character Education in Schools, the Statement on Youth Social Action and Character Development and the Statement on Teacher Education and Character Education.

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Professor Robert C. Roberts Publishes on 'Virtues and Belief in God'

06/09/16

Robert C. Roberts, Professor of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre, has published a paper titled ‘Virtues and belief in God’ in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Please find the abstract, and a link to the publisher’s page, below:

Abstract:

“This paper describes a basic psychological mechanism by which beliefs about God affect the structure of virtues in human beings. Iris Murdoch calls it ‘the siege of the individual by concepts’. A premise is that appetites, desires, emotions, pleasures and pains have a conceptual dimension that can be trained by regular exposure to relevant concepts. Theological concepts are among the relevant ones. Another premise is that our virtues and vices are largely dispositions to appetites, desires, emotions, pleasures and pains. The argument is made by way of discussing two virtues, temperance and compassion.”

The article is available at this page.

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Policy Brief: Building Character through the Longer School Day

06/09/16

The Jubilee Centre has published an evidence-informed policy brief on Building Character through the Longer School Day. Informed by the latest research, the paper sets out the evidence base for developing character in young people through extra-curricular activities that form part of a proposed longer school day. Research is presented on four effective tools and methods for developing character, and suggestions about how these methods might be applied to extra-curricular activities are provided. The Centre seeks to further engage with and inform the political debate around character education and will continue to publish briefing papers, providing specific recommendations about the practical implications of research, covering a range of topical issues relating to character and virtue. All briefing papers will be made available on the Centre's website here.

 

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Professor David Carr Publishes in British Journal of Educational Studies

30/08/16

Professor David Carr has published a paper titled 'Virtue and Character in Higher Education' in the British Journal of Educational Studies. The paper makes the case for character the general case for character education with particular consideration of the contexts of pre-adult schooling and adult professional and vocational training. Find the abstract, and a link to the publisher's page below:

Access the paper at this page.

Abstract:

Despite much recent concern with the possibilities of moral character education in elementary schooling and professional training, the university and higher educational prospects of such education have only lately received much attention. This paper begins by considering – and largely endorsing – the general case for character education in contexts of pre-adult schooling and adult professional and vocational training. However, it proceeds to argue that the case for intervention in character formation in some educational contexts is not generally applicable to university and higher education. Key points are that there can be no clear normative warrant for such intervention in the case of learners who are: (i) beyond the age of majority and (ii) voluntarily engaged in study wherein significant professional or public implications of personal character development are not a pressing concern. In short, while good moral character is clearly of general human importance, its deliberate or explicit promotion may not be equally warranted in all educational contexts.

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Deputy Director Publishes in Philosophical Explorations

16/08/16

Jubilee Centre Deputy Director Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson has published "A Philosophical Critique of Psychological Studies of Emotion" in the journal Philosophical Explorations.

The article aims to provide a critical review of recent writings about jealousy in psychology, as seen from a philosophical perspective. At a more general level of inquiry, jealousy offers a useful lens through which to study generic issues concerned with the conceptual and moral nature of emotions, as well as the contributions that philosophers and social scientists can make to understanding them. Hence, considerable space is devoted to comparisons of psychological and philosophical approaches to emotion research in general. It turns out that although (Aristotle-style) arguments about the necessary conceptual features of jealousy qua specific emotion, do carry philosophical mileage, they may fail to cut ice with psychologists who tend to focus on jealousy as a broad dimension of temperament. The review reveals a disconcerting lack of cross-disciplinary work on jealousy: the sort of work that has moved the discourse on other emotions (such as gratitude) forward in recent years.

The article is available by clicking the below image.

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Positive Initial Findings from Pilot Study of Interventions in Gratitude and Compassion

15/08/16

A recent pilot study by the Jubilee Centre has shown that a five-week programme of school-based activities promoting compassion and gratitude can have a noticeable effect on pupils’ attitudes and virtue literacy of two key virtues.  

As part of the Gratitude and Related Character Virtues project, which is examining how gratitude relates to four other virtues (generosity, compassion, forgiveness and humility) this pilot study sought to establish whether teaching interventions designed to promote one of these virtues has the effect of increasing the others - with the focus here being on compassion and gratitude in a secondary school setting. 

The wider project seeks to promote a reinvigorated focus on character and virtues development in schools, with particular reference to emphasising the allocentric (other-focused) virtues mentioned above.  The positive results of this initial pilot study, therefore, are extremely encouraging. Individual children’s initial knowledge of compassion and gratitude, as expressed through mind maps, was enriched by the five-week programme, leading to more nuanced diagrammatic representations of the virtues, suggesting wider comprehension and learning.

Dr. Liz Gulliford, Research Fellow on the project, is looking forward to the full-scale research project in the autumn. She says: “Preliminary data shows increasing complexity in young people’s understanding of the concepts of compassion and gratitude. We are encouraged by the early results which appear to show improvements in pupils’ virtue literacy. The pilot suggests the interventions are helping to build a vital bedrock of understanding among young people.”

Read more about the results of the pilot study, and feedback from schools involved, in this blog post.

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Centre's Free Online Course Opens for Registrations

11/08/16

The Jubilee Centre's free online course 'What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education' begins on 24th October 2016 and is now open for registrations.  This will be the fourth run of the two-week course, for which over 15,000 people have registered since its launch in January 2015. The course, delivered in partnership with FutureLearn, explores how character might be taught in a conscious, planned and reflective way, enabling learners to gain practical knowledge on taking character education into the classroom. Drawing on the insights of leading experts in the fields of character education and virtue ethics, the course introduces the theoretical and philosophical basis for character education, including a background to virtue ethics.  You can watch the trailer below, and register to join the course here.

The course provides an excellent taster experience for those interested in further study in character education following the launch of the world's first distance learning MA in Character Education at the University of Birmingham. Find out more here.  

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Jubilee Centre Publishes New Book: 'Teaching Character and Virtue in Schools'

04/08/16

Prof. James Arthur, Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson, Dr. Tom Harrison, Dr. Wouter Sanderse and Dan Wright publish Teaching Character and Virtue in Schools with Routledge Taylor & Francis. The book addresses the contemporary issues of quantification and measurement in educational settings. The authors draw on the research of the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in order to investigate the concern that the conventional wisdom, sound judgement and professional discretion of teachers is being diminished and control mistakenly given over to administrators, policymakers and inspectors which in turn is negatively affecting pupils’ character development.

The books calls for subject competence to be complemented by practical wisdom and good character in teaching staff. It posits that the constituent virtues of good character can be learned and taught, that education is an intrinsically moral enterprise and that character education should be intentional, organised and reflective. The book draws on the Jubilee Centre’s expertise in support of its claims and successfully integrates the fields of educational studies, psychology, sociology, philosophy and theology in its examination of contemporary educational practices and their wider effect on society as a whole. It offers sample lessons as well as a framework for character education in schools.

The book encourages the view that character education is about helping students grasp what is ethically important and how to act for the right reasons so that they can become more autonomous and reflective individuals within the framework of a democratic society. Particularly interested readers will be educational leaders, teachers, those undertaking research in the field of education as well as policy analysts with a keen interest in developing the character and good sense of learners today.

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Centre Publishes Statement on Character, Virtue and Practical Wisdom in Professional Practice

13/10/16

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is delighted to publish its Statement on Character, Virtue and Practical Wisdom in the Professions. The statement is founded on research conducted by the Jubilee Centre which explored character and virtues in lawteaching and medicine, and others in the field and has been developed in consultation with members of various professions, educators, policy makers, professional organisations and academics. The overall aim of the statement is to open up space for renewed debate, discussion and dialogue about the place of character, virtue and practical wisdom in professional practice. A key aim of the statement is to suggest some ways in which education and training for professional practices might be improved to accommodate the development of phronesis and the cultivation of virtuous character. You can read the statement in full here.

 

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Policy Brief: Character and Social Mobility

13/10/16

The Jubilee Centre has published an evidence-informed policy brief on Character and Social Mobility. Informed by the latest research, this brief seeks to highlight the value of social mobility to broader society, using the prism of character and character education to explain what a socially mobile Britain could and should mean in practice. It brings together a selection of evidence to outline how character can enhance social mobility and places this evidence within the Jubilee Centre’s character framework. The paper is available to view here. For other policy briefing papers by the Jubilee Centre see this page.

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Thank You Letters Awards targets record entries for 2017

13/10/16

The Jubilee Centre's national Thank You Letter Awards is now open for submissions for the 2017 contest. The Awards invite young people to write a thank you letter to someone or something that has made a difference to their lives, the lives of others or society more generally. Last year, more than 200 schools across the UK took part with pupils aged 5 to 16 contributing 41,000 letters.  With the launch of the 2017 competition, the Centre hopes to build on this success and sign up many more schools. Schools are encouraged to hold their own Thank You Letter competition, with vouchers provided as prizes, and submit the best letters to the national competition. Find out more about how to get involved here.  Read more about the Thank You Letter Awards and what young people are grateful for, as well as extracts from some of last year's winning letters in this blog postpress release was also issued to interested media parties. 

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Publishes in Oxford Review of Education

12/10/16

Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson has published an article on the need to extend an Aristotelian account of flourishing, in Oxford Review of Education. The article can be accessed by clicking here and the abstract for the paper can be found below:

"Flourishing, understood along Aristotelian or quasi-Aristotelian lines as objective eudaimonic well-being, is re-emerging as a paradigm for the ideal aim of education in the 21st century. This paper aims to venture beyond the current accounts and Aristotle’s own, by arguing that both suffer from a kind of ‘flatness’ or ‘disenchantedness’ in failing to pay heed to the satisfaction of certain impulses that have been proven to give fullness to our lives: impulses having to do with awe-inspiring emotional attachments to transpersonal ideals. I thus argue that while Aristotelian flourishing is a necessary place to begin, it is not a sufficient one to conclude, a study of human flourishing, either generally or in classroom contexts; it needs to be extended and ‘enchanted’ in order to do so. That venture does not necessitate an embrace of supernaturalism, however."

 
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Prime Minister Praises University School of Character

12/10/16

Prime Minister, Theresa May, has recognised and praised the new University of Birmingham School in recent speeches where she has emphasised a commitment to ‘delivering a good school place for every child’. Dedicated to character education, the University of Birmingham School opened in September 2015 and delivers a bespoke curriculum, developed in close collaboration with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, that focusses on character. In a speech, titled ‘Britain, the great meritocracy’, given on 9th September 2016 at the British Academy in London, the Prime Minister spoke about the ‘impressive’ new University of Birmingham School as a great success to build upon, and emphasised the benefits of universities sponsoring and supporting local and new schools.  In her speech at the recent Conservative Party Conference, held in Birmingham 2nd – 5th October, she also highlighted the University of Birmingham School as an example of a school that ‘suits the skills, interests and abilities of every single pupil’.  The Jubilee Centre is currently working closely with the school as part of the Schools of Virtue project to determine 'what works' in character education.

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HRH The Duke of Cambridge Supports New National Character Education Scheme

11/10/16

On Monday 10th October 2016, His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge lent his support to a new and pioneering national character education scheme to help school children develop an inner strength for life.

The SkillForce Character Award pilot programme has started this term at 37 primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland, and Wales, and involves 1,013 pupils aged five to 14-years-old. The award programme has been developed with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, and involves practical activities and challenges, inside and outside of the classroom. 

Professor James Arthur, Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, commented: “We at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues are delighted to work with SkillForce as their key academic partner for this character award. This award will help five to 14-year-olds across Britain develop essential virtues including inner strength, the ability to make good and wise choices, compassion, self control, leadership and most importantly practical wisdom that is essential for human flourishing.”

In launching the SkillForce Character Award at the 100 Women in Hedge Funds gala dinner in aid of SkillForce, HRH The Duke of Cambridge said: "SkillForce specialises in character education in primary and secondary schools, taking children who are otherwise struggling with their school lives through a programme of activity designed to teach them resilience, confidence, determination and discipline."

The Character Award programme is available on the SkillForce website here

The SkillForce press release, including the full transcript of HRH The Duke of Cambridge's speech is available here.

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Dr David Walker Presents Centre Research at Universities in Taiwan

10/10/16

On Friday 7th October 2016, Dr David Walker, a Research Fellow at the Jubilee Centre, gave the keynote presentation at the '2016 International Conference on Education Innovation in the E Era' at the National Taichung University of Education.  His talk, entitled 'Good Friendships among Children: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation' described research in UK primary schools which was carried out as part of the Jublee Centre's Character Education in UK Schools project.  In the talk the argument was made that children as young as 9 and 10 years old are capable of high quality friendships.  Dr Walker also presented this work to staff and students in the Department of Education at National Tainang University on Thursday 6th October.  A paper of the same title has also been published recently in the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour; view the paper here.

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Professor Robert C. Roberts Gives Lecture as Part of 'Why Philosophy Matters' Series

06/10/16

Professor Robert C. Roberts, Professor of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre and joint Chair with the Royal Institute of Philosophy, delivered a lecture at Bloomsbury Publishing in London on Wednesday 5th October 2016 as part of the Why Philosophy Matters series of events. The lecture was titled ‘Why Humility Matters’. The event details can be accessed here and the abstract for the lecture can be found below:

Some may think the question — Why does humility matter? — is the wrong one. The right question, they may think, is, How can we eradicate it? So we must first outline a plausible account of humility as a virtue, even if, as we admit, some people clearly use ‘humility’ as a vice-word. I will propose that virtuous humility is best thought of as an absence: an absence of the concerns and integrated patterns of thought that are the vices of pride — vanity, snobbery, arrogance, and domination, for example. This absence must be surrounded and supported by other virtues of other types: justice, compassion, truthfulness, pride, courage, and perseverance, for example. Why, then, does humility matter? It matters because it supports these other virtues. In doing so, it’s a ground of eudaimonia or happiness. It is a kind of openness to others in which their spiritual beauty can be revealed and appreciated. It facilitates knowledge and understanding. It facilitates peace, social harmony, and interpersonal wellbeing. It effects all these goods by way of minimizing or eliminating the vices of pride, which in their various ways impede or exclude these goods. 

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Centre Co-Hosts Fringe Events at Labour and Conservative Party Conferences

04/10/16

On Monday 26th September and Tuesday 4th October 2016, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues hosted a fringe event at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences, respectively, in collaboration with think-tank Demos. Exploring the theme ‘The Longer School Day: A Revolution in Character Education?’ the events came after the recent publication of the Centre’s briefing paper ‘Building Character through the Longer School Day which captures the key research on this topic and informed the debate. Taking the form of a panel discussion followed by a Q&A session, speakers at the two events included Director Professor James Arthur, Lord James O’Shaughnessy, Lucy Powell MP, President of ATL Shelagh Hirst, CEO of Step Up To Serve Charlotte Hill and Head of Citizenship and Political Participation at Demos Ralph Scott. The Q&A sessions were chaired by Sonia Sodha, Chief Leader Writer at the Observer and Laura McInerney from Schools Week. Both events were well attended and generated lively debates about the role schools, alongside parents and community organisations, play in developing the character virtues of children and young people. 

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Deputy Director Gives Key Note Lecture at ARETAI Inaugural Conference

03/10/16

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson gave a keynote presentation, entitled 'Flourishing as an educational aim', at the Inaugural Conference of ARETAI, a new centre for the study of virtue, at the University of Genoa, Italy, on 29th September 2016. The new centre is a partner of the Jubilee Centre, and the conference focussed on connecting virtues via both theoretical and educational means. A conference programme is available here, and Kristján's presentation is available to view below.

 

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Deputy Director Gives Keynote at Joint Royal Institute of Philosophy and Open University Conference

23/09/16

Professor Kristján Kristjánsson gave a keynote presentation, titled ‘Awe and Self-Transcendence’, at the Owning Our Emotions: Emotion, Authenticity and the Self conference on 21st September 2016. The conference was organised by the Open University in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Philosophy.  The conference aimed to capitalise on the progress that has been made in recent years in the philosophy of emotion, and to draw on work from a range of philosophical traditions to address questions such as: How do emotions, the personality and the self relate to each other?; Is there an ‘emotional self’?; What do our emotional responses say about us, about our ‘character’? You can find out more about the conference at this link. To view Prof. Kristjánsson’s presentation click here.

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Jubilee Centre Develops Resources for Marginalised Young People

15/09/16

The Jubilee Centre’s Character and Values Amongst Marginalised Young People project, which aims to challenge the misconceptions around young people who are disengaged from mainstream society (those not in education, employment or training), has developed a bank of character based learning resources. The resources have been developed in consultation with a number of UK youth organisations and are currently being trialled by 480 young people in non-mainstream settings; these include pupils excluded from mainstream schools, those attending youth groups, and individuals on the margins of, or already involved in, criminal activity. The research and interventions aim to contribute to the understanding of character amongst marginalised young people and provide worthwhile interventions that may address some of the difficulties they face.


You can read more about the project and the interventions being developed in this Virtue Insight blog post.

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Centre to Welcome Students onto the World's First MA in Character Education

15/09/16

The Jubilee Centre will welcome students onto the world's first MA in Character Education on 19th September 2016. The exciting new programme begins with Induction Week on 19th September, followed by the first module 'Theories of Character, Virtues and Flourishing' led by Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson. This programme will equip students with the latest theory and research in character education, as well as the knowledge and tools for character education practice in more or less formal educational settings. As a distance learning programme it offers both flexibility and an opportunity to debate key questions about the purpose of education with fellow students around the world.

 

Find more about the course, and how to apply, here.

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Centre Director and Research Fellow Visit United States Military Academy, West Point

14/09/16

Professor James Arthur and Dr. David Walker visited the US Military Academy at West Point on 10th and 11th September 2016 as part of the Soldiers of Character project, which is exploring character and virtues among junior officers of the British Army. The purpose of the visit to West Point was to learn how character is developed among officer cadets there and in the US Army more generally. During the visit, Prof. Arthur and Dr. Walker were hosted by Major Scott Parsons and visited the Simon Centre for Professional Military Ethic and the Center of the Army Profession and Ethic. The visit was extremely useful and provided an opportunity to discuss future collaborations between the Jubilee Centre, the Simon Centre for Professional Military Ethic and the Center of the Army Profession and Ethic at West Point.

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Centre Academics Write for Research Intelligence Special Issue

13/09/16

The summer 2016 issue of BERA’s Research Intelligence, a special issue focussing on Character, Values and Ethics, features two articles by Jubilee Centre academics, Dr Tom Harrison and Professor David Carr.  The issue explores different perceptions on the role and importance of character, values and ethics in education.

Dr Tom Harrison's article, written with Matthew Bawden - a teacher who worked on the project at the Jubilee Centre - is titled ‘Teaching Character Through Subjects’ (pg. 15-16) and provides an overview of the Department for Education funded project of the same name. The project worked across England with 29 teachers from 28 state funded schools to create an innovative resource for building character within 14 subjects across the school curriculum.   The resources, and a report about the project, are available to download at this page.

Professor Carr’s article, titled ‘Academic and Theoretical Perspectives on Character Education’ (pg. 19-20) looks at how modern theorisation of character education, with its emphasis on the character and virtues, can be traced back to the ancient Greeks, and in particular, the work of Aristotle. 

View the issue here.

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Centre Holds Consultation on Virtue in the Professions at Windsor Castle

12/09/16

On 8-9th September 2016, the Jubilee Centre hosted a consultation on the role of character and virtues in the professions at St. George’s House, Windsor.  The consultation was attended by practitioners and academics across medicine, law, teaching, banking and business, and included a number of consultants to current Jubilee Centre projects, in particular, the NursingBusiness and Finance, and Interventions with Student Teachers, Lawyers and Doctors projects.

The purpose of the consultation was to discuss the place of character and virtues in a range of professional practices, and how they might be incorporated into the training and education of those professions. The output from the consultation is a draft statement on the role of virtues in the professions, which the Jubilee Centre is finalising, and will publish in due course. The statement follows previous similar publications by the Centre; the Framework for Character Education in Schools, the Statement on Youth Social Action and Character Development and the Statement on Teacher Education and Character Education.

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Professor Robert C. Roberts Publishes on 'Virtues and Belief in God'

06/09/16

Robert C. Roberts, Professor of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre, has published a paper titled ‘Virtues and belief in God’ in The Journal of Positive Psychology. Please find the abstract, and a link to the publisher’s page, below:

Abstract:

“This paper describes a basic psychological mechanism by which beliefs about God affect the structure of virtues in human beings. Iris Murdoch calls it ‘the siege of the individual by concepts’. A premise is that appetites, desires, emotions, pleasures and pains have a conceptual dimension that can be trained by regular exposure to relevant concepts. Theological concepts are among the relevant ones. Another premise is that our virtues and vices are largely dispositions to appetites, desires, emotions, pleasures and pains. The argument is made by way of discussing two virtues, temperance and compassion.”

The article is available at this page.

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Policy Brief: Building Character through the Longer School Day

06/09/16

The Jubilee Centre has published an evidence-informed policy brief on Building Character through the Longer School Day. Informed by the latest research, the paper sets out the evidence base for developing character in young people through extra-curricular activities that form part of a proposed longer school day. Research is presented on four effective tools and methods for developing character, and suggestions about how these methods might be applied to extra-curricular activities are provided. The Centre seeks to further engage with and inform the political debate around character education and will continue to publish briefing papers, providing specific recommendations about the practical implications of research, covering a range of topical issues relating to character and virtue. All briefing papers will be made available on the Centre's website here.

 

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Professor David Carr Publishes in British Journal of Educational Studies

30/08/16

Professor David Carr has published a paper titled 'Virtue and Character in Higher Education' in the British Journal of Educational Studies. The paper makes the case for character the general case for character education with particular consideration of the contexts of pre-adult schooling and adult professional and vocational training. Find the abstract, and a link to the publisher's page below:

Access the paper at this page.

Abstract:

Despite much recent concern with the possibilities of moral character education in elementary schooling and professional training, the university and higher educational prospects of such education have only lately received much attention. This paper begins by considering – and largely endorsing – the general case for character education in contexts of pre-adult schooling and adult professional and vocational training. However, it proceeds to argue that the case for intervention in character formation in some educational contexts is not generally applicable to university and higher education. Key points are that there can be no clear normative warrant for such intervention in the case of learners who are: (i) beyond the age of majority and (ii) voluntarily engaged in study wherein significant professional or public implications of personal character development are not a pressing concern. In short, while good moral character is clearly of general human importance, its deliberate or explicit promotion may not be equally warranted in all educational contexts.

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Deputy Director Publishes in Philosophical Explorations

16/08/16

Jubilee Centre Deputy Director Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson has published "A Philosophical Critique of Psychological Studies of Emotion" in the journal Philosophical Explorations.

The article aims to provide a critical review of recent writings about jealousy in psychology, as seen from a philosophical perspective. At a more general level of inquiry, jealousy offers a useful lens through which to study generic issues concerned with the conceptual and moral nature of emotions, as well as the contributions that philosophers and social scientists can make to understanding them. Hence, considerable space is devoted to comparisons of psychological and philosophical approaches to emotion research in general. It turns out that although (Aristotle-style) arguments about the necessary conceptual features of jealousy qua specific emotion, do carry philosophical mileage, they may fail to cut ice with psychologists who tend to focus on jealousy as a broad dimension of temperament. The review reveals a disconcerting lack of cross-disciplinary work on jealousy: the sort of work that has moved the discourse on other emotions (such as gratitude) forward in recent years.

The article is available by clicking the below image.

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Positive Initial Findings from Pilot Study of Interventions in Gratitude and Compassion

15/08/16

A recent pilot study by the Jubilee Centre has shown that a five-week programme of school-based activities promoting compassion and gratitude can have a noticeable effect on pupils’ attitudes and virtue literacy of two key virtues.  

As part of the Gratitude and Related Character Virtues project, which is examining how gratitude relates to four other virtues (generosity, compassion, forgiveness and humility) this pilot study sought to establish whether teaching interventions designed to promote one of these virtues has the effect of increasing the others - with the focus here being on compassion and gratitude in a secondary school setting. 

The wider project seeks to promote a reinvigorated focus on character and virtues development in schools, with particular reference to emphasising the allocentric (other-focused) virtues mentioned above.  The positive results of this initial pilot study, therefore, are extremely encouraging. Individual children’s initial knowledge of compassion and gratitude, as expressed through mind maps, was enriched by the five-week programme, leading to more nuanced diagrammatic representations of the virtues, suggesting wider comprehension and learning.

Dr. Liz Gulliford, Research Fellow on the project, is looking forward to the full-scale research project in the autumn. She says: “Preliminary data shows increasing complexity in young people’s understanding of the concepts of compassion and gratitude. We are encouraged by the early results which appear to show improvements in pupils’ virtue literacy. The pilot suggests the interventions are helping to build a vital bedrock of understanding among young people.”

Read more about the results of the pilot study, and feedback from schools involved, in this blog post.

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Centre's Free Online Course Opens for Registrations

11/08/16

The Jubilee Centre's free online course 'What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education' begins on 24th October 2016 and is now open for registrations.  This will be the fourth run of the two-week course, for which over 15,000 people have registered since its launch in January 2015. The course, delivered in partnership with FutureLearn, explores how character might be taught in a conscious, planned and reflective way, enabling learners to gain practical knowledge on taking character education into the classroom. Drawing on the insights of leading experts in the fields of character education and virtue ethics, the course introduces the theoretical and philosophical basis for character education, including a background to virtue ethics.  You can watch the trailer below, and register to join the course here.

The course provides an excellent taster experience for those interested in further study in character education following the launch of the world's first distance learning MA in Character Education at the University of Birmingham. Find out more here.  

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Jubilee Centre Publishes New Book: 'Teaching Character and Virtue in Schools'

04/08/16

Prof. James Arthur, Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson, Dr. Tom Harrison, Dr. Wouter Sanderse and Dan Wright publish Teaching Character and Virtue in Schools with Routledge Taylor & Francis. The book addresses the contemporary issues of quantification and measurement in educational settings. The authors draw on the research of the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in order to investigate the concern that the conventional wisdom, sound judgement and professional discretion of teachers is being diminished and control mistakenly given over to administrators, policymakers and inspectors which in turn is negatively affecting pupils’ character development.

The books calls for subject competence to be complemented by practical wisdom and good character in teaching staff. It posits that the constituent virtues of good character can be learned and taught, that education is an intrinsically moral enterprise and that character education should be intentional, organised and reflective. The book draws on the Jubilee Centre’s expertise in support of its claims and successfully integrates the fields of educational studies, psychology, sociology, philosophy and theology in its examination of contemporary educational practices and their wider effect on society as a whole. It offers sample lessons as well as a framework for character education in schools.

The book encourages the view that character education is about helping students grasp what is ethically important and how to act for the right reasons so that they can become more autonomous and reflective individuals within the framework of a democratic society. Particularly interested readers will be educational leaders, teachers, those undertaking research in the field of education as well as policy analysts with a keen interest in developing the character and good sense of learners today.

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