A Definition of Character Education
‘Character is a set of personal traits or dispositions that produce specific moral emotions, inform motivation and guide conduct. Character education includes all explicit and implicit educational activities that help young people develop positive personal strengths called virtues. Character education is more than just a subject. It has a place in the culture and functions of families, classrooms, schools and other institutions. Character education is about helping students grasp what is ethically important in situations and how to act for the right reasons, such that they become more autonomous and reflective in the practice of virtue. Students need to decide wisely the kind of person they wish to become and to learn to choose between already existing alternatives or to find new ones. In this process, the ultimate aim of character education is the development of good sense, or practical wisdom; the capacity to choose intelligently between alternatives. This capacity involves knowing how to choose the right course of action in difficult situations and it arises gradually out of the experience of making choices and the growth of ethical insight.’ A Framework for Character Education in Schools’ Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues (2017)
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and Christian Values for Schools offer academically-based guidance, national frameworks and resources to support schools in understanding and delivering effective programmes for Character Education. They have published key principles, definitions and models of good practise that are referenced in the ‘Virtues Enquiry through Drama’ methodology. Familiarisation with this material is essential for a school to be able to maximise the potential of ‘Virtues Enquiry through Drama’ as a tool for enriching Character Education.
Virtues Enquiry Learning
Wintershall’s Virtues Enquiry Through Drama brings education to life using beautifully filmed scenes from ‘The Life of Christ’ production, actor viewpoint clips, a stunning collection of photographs and much more. Enquiry-based learning units link the study of scripture and virtues in creative ways. The material has been designed by education specialists, teachers, clergy and actors using the rich source material provided by the powerful dramatisation of the Gospels in ‘The Life of Christ’, Wintershall production.
These quality resources support RE enquiry into a Christian faith perspective on three virtues (a sample of the nine fruits of the spirit), They inspire high-level thinking and deeper creative reflection in RE teaching and learning, as well as offer opportunity to explore an accessible Christian theological and faith perspective on Character Education.
Designed flexibly to be delivered either as a series of class based weekly lessons or as an immersive RE or Virtues Enquiry theme Day’, each virtue is explored within a solid theological and conceptual enquiry framework. ‘The Virtues Enquiry Day’ approach to delivery is not intended to replace the statutory RE units, but to provide ‘space’ to enhance and deepen pupils’ understanding.
The three sample virtues enquiries linked to events in the life of Christ and the fruits of the spirit are:
- Patience – (Simeon and Anna -The presentation of Jesus in the temple. Luke 2:22-40)
- Unconditional love, being inclusive – (Jesus heals the leper. Mark 1:40-42)
- Humility (gentleness) – (Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. John 13:1-15)
Please see the ‘Education Links’ section of the Wintershall Education website for more detailed links between Virtues Enquiry through Drama and Character Education (SIAMS criteria and Section 48) and RE (Understanding Christianity and Come and See)
Click here to enjoy albums of photos from our RE and Virtues Enquiry pilots in schools during 2016