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Interesting new project studying morally exceptional people http://t.co/0fGpwIbTNj @ WakeForest

Quote of the week

Our ability to handle life's challenges is a measure of our strength of character.Les Brown

Honorary Senior Research Fellow Awarded Peerage

28/08/15

Jubilee Centre Honorary Senior Research Fellow and Managing Director of Floreat Education James O'Shaughnessy has been awarded a peerage to sit in the House of Lords. James has supported the work of the Jubilee Centre since its creation in 2012, and we are delighted for James to receive this honour. Floreat Education are establishing a chain of primary schools in the London area, and were awarded a grant by the Department for Education to develop a Character Virtue Development Programme which will produce a set of effective and easy-to-use materials for teachers to deliver character education in their classrooms. The Programme is designed to develop the virtue literacy and virtue behaviour of pupils, drawing from the Jubilee Centre's Knightly Virtues programme.

James said that he was 'thrilled' to be asked to sit in the House of Lords, and saw it as a 'huge privilege' and 'a wonderful opportunity...to make the case for positive education within Parliament.'

All at the Jubilee Centre would like to extend their congratulations to James.

More information about Floreat Education can be found via their website.

 

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson publishes in Res Philosophica.

25/08/15

Centre Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson has published ‘Grief: An Aristotelian Justification of an Emotional Virtue’ in the journal Res Philosophica. The article can be viewed here with the abstract provided below: 

Abstract: This article has three interrelated aims. The first is to analyze the concept of grief; the second is to argue for the putative rationality of grief (against Donald Gustafson’s contention to the contrary); and the third is to offer a moral justification of grief along broadly Aristotelian lines as an intrinsically valuable trait of character—a virtue. With regard to this third and ultimate aim, I argue not only that grief plays an unappreciated positive role in our moral experiences but flesh out a case for what exactly that positive moral role is. More precisely, I argue that grief is best justified as an Aristotelian desert-based emotional trait, incorporating two distinct desert-motivated desires, one specifically directed at the memory of the dead person as deserving of homage, the other more cosmically focusing on the general undeservingness of good people passing away. The argument goes against the grain of most previous instrumental justifications of grief and palpably violates David Konstan’s contention that grief involves “no reference to desert.”

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Professor James Arthur Joins Government's 'Preparation for Adult Life Group'

17/08/15

Professor James Arthur has joined the Government's Preparation for Adult Life group, chaired by Edward Timpson MP, Minister of State for Children and Families. The group will focus on ensuring all young people are well-rounded and are prepared for all aspects of adult life.

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Jubilee Awards for Service Ceremony 2015

31/07/15

On Thursday 30th July 2015, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues held the 2015 Jubilee Awards for Service, hosted by The Baroness Massey of Darwen in the House of Lords. The ceremony awarded and recognised 12 public sector award winners for their outstanding service. Award winners included firefighters, NHS workers, educators and those in local government.

The Jubilee Awards for Service is an annual awards programme celebrating the outstanding service of those working in the public sector. The awards recognise and reward individuals who go above and beyond their remit, dedicate their working life to helping others, or who have made a significant contribution to the lives of others through their work. Winners are nominated by grateful colleagues, friends, or members of the public and nominations are judged by an independent panel.

This year, 8 young people were also honoured as part of the Jubilee Awards for Service Youth Awards, run in partnership with Step Up to Serve. These young people have undertaken outstanding practical action in the service of others, including volunteering, campaigning, and fundraising. 

Details of the winners and their stories will be available shortly via the Jubilee Awards for Service page, and photos from the ceremony are available in the Media Centre.

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Professor James Arthur and Dr David Walker Visit British Army

31/07/15

On 29th July, Professor James Arthur and Dr David Walker visited a group of Army officers at 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade in Tidworth Garrison, Wiltshire. This visit formed part of the Centre's new project Soldiers of Character, which will explore character and virtue in the British Army. The officers acted as an ‘expert panel’ to contribute to the development of moral dilemmas, to be used in the research, that are realistic and credible for the British Army context.  

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50 Heads and Principals Lead the Way

30/07/15

On Monday 8th June, Step Up To Serve and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, invited 50 head teachers from across the U, who are currently leading the way in embedding character and social action into their schools and colleges, together for a one-day event. This short film shows the highlights of the event, which was held in London.  In the film, heads from a variety of schools and colleges share their reasons for putting character development and youth social action at the heart of their pupils' education.

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Centre Director Visits Ministry of Education in Tokyo, Japan

28/07/15

On 23rd – 26th July 2015, Centre Director Professor James Arthur visited the Ministry of Education in Tokyo, to discuss character education with Ministry officials.  During the trip, Professor Arthur spoke at an International Symposium held in Tokyo, then at Hiroshima University, introducing the work of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. As part of the work of the Research Initiative for the Development of Learning Systems at Hiroshima University, the International Symposium explored dignity and virtue in education.  Taking place at Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Education the Symposium formed part of an international project for citizenship and invited international speakers to come together to discuss character education.

Education in Japan recognises the importance of character development, but there is a need to revise the National Curriculum to embed character education within it, ensuring it is implemented in every school. The Ministry of Education will be introducing a new moral education curriculum in 2018 (primary schools) and 2019 (secondary schools). 

 

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Centre's Online Course in Character Education Open for Registrations

27/07/15

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues' free online course What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education is now open for registrations.  Starting on 26th October 2015, for two weeks, the course explores virtues and the role they play in helping both individuals and society flourish. The course will tap into an increasing interest in character education and answer important questions such as, what is character and character education, why is it important and can it be taught? The course draws on insights from leading experts at the Jubilee Centre, as well as hearing from practitioners with first-hand experience of the transformative power of implementing character education in day-to-day practices within a school. The course is being delivered in partnership with the University of Birmingham and FutureLearn and anyone is eligible to sign up.

You can watch the trailer, and register to join the course here.

The course will also provide a taster course for an exciting new MA in Character Education currently being developed by the University of Birmingham.  

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Centre Director Receives Founders’ Award for Excellence

23/07/15

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is delighted to announce that Professor James Arthur has won the University of Birmingham’s 2015 Founders' Award for Excellence in the area of Policy Advancement.  The Award recognises the outstanding contribution that Professor Arthur’s work as Director of the Jubilee Centre has made to policy development in the area of character education. The award was presented at a dinner hosted by the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham on Thursday 16th July 2015.

Now in their sixth year, these awards celebrate the very best academic work in the University. The four award categories are Academic, Policy, and Business Advancement, and an award for Outstanding Early-Career Academic. Whilst each award recognises a different area of expertise, all recognise work which has contributed to the advancement of the University’s reputation both nationally and internationally.

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New Association for Character Education Set to Launch

16/07/15

A new Association for Character Education (ACE) is set to launch in September 2015.  With an Executive Team in place, the Association will initially work to establish a kitemark for Schools of Character and will hold annual conferences, among other activities.  Membership for the first year of the Association will be free.  The Executive Team consists of:

Sir Iain Hall (Honorary President) - Kings Leadership Academy     
Gary Lewis (Chair) - Kings Langley School 
Dr. Tom Harrison (Secretary) - Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
Professor James Arthur - Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
Linda Sanders - The Laurels School 
Vicky Beer - Ashton on Mersey School
Michael Roden - University of Birmingham School
Geoff Smith - Kelhelland School 
James O'Shaughnessy - Floreat Education 

 

To register your interest or find out more about ACE, please contact Dr. Tom Harrison t.j.harrison@bham.ac.uk

 

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Poll Shows Continued Support in Parliament for Character Education

16/07/15

A new poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of the Jubilee Centre shows that there is continued and considerable support for the teaching of character education in schools among MPs. The poll of 150 MPs aimed to assess the views of MPs with regards to character and virtue education in schools, and within the legal, medical and teaching professions, with the sample being representative of the House of Commons by party, region and length of service. Compared to a similar pre-election poll conducted in December 2014, MPs are now five percentage points more likely to agree that character education should be taught in schools.  The value of character education is clearly noted, with an increase in cross-party consensus, with three quarters of MPs agreeing that developing a sense of moral values is as important for school children as good GCSE and A-level results. The poll results also show  that MPs see the importance of training teachers in character education, with the vast majority continuing to see the importance of character in the medical and legal professions as well. The full results of the June 2015 survey of MPs can be found here.  

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New ResPublica Report 'In Professions We Trust'

15/07/15

Independent policy think tank ResPublica has launched a new report titled 'In Professions We Trust: Fostering virtuous practitioners in teaching, law and medicine'.  The report draws on the research carried out by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues into the role of virtue in the professions of law, teaching and medicine, and provides recommendations for how practitioners can restore public trust in each profession and continue to serve the common good . The report was launched at the House of Lords on Tuesday 14th July with a panel discussion, which included report author and Director of ResPublica Phillip Blond, co-author of the report Professor Elena Antonacopoulou, Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter, Deputy Secretary General of NASUWT Patrick Roach and Lord Phillips of Sudbury. More information about the report and its recommendations is available here, and you can read the report in full here.

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Centre's Department for Education Project Launches

10/07/15

On 7th and 8th July, the Centre's new project Teaching Character: through and within subjects launched, with teachers from schools across the UK coming together for the first time.  Funded by the Department for Education, the project will explore ways in which character traits can be drawn out from the teaching curriculum through 14 different subjects.  Over the course of the project, teachers, in partnership with academics from the Jubilee Centre, will create, pilot, evaluate and refine materials that will then be made freely available to schools.   This two-day workshop took place at Horton Grange, University of Birmingham, and consisted of an overview of both the project and the work of the Centre.  Teachers who will be involved in the project were given the opportunity to begin laying the foundations for the schemes of work they will be producing in each of their individual subjects.  The teachers involved cover a range of different curriculum subjects: Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, History, Computing, Languages, PSHE, Citizenship, Art and Design, Music, Design and Technology, Religious Education and Physical Education. 

 

Richard Farnan, a teacher involved in the project said: 

"The Jubilee Centre's work on virtues is a really important step in helping students become well-rounded, good people.

It has been really exciting to work on such a positive programme with other teachers and start working on resources which students across the country can really benefit from."

 

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Dr. Tom Harrison Speaks at Teach First Network Event

09/07/15

On Thursday 2nd July, Dr. Tom Harrison spoke at the Teach First event entitled ‘Teach First Character in Education – Bringing your vision to life’ – organised by the West Midland Division of Teach First.  The event was part of the character education network that Teach First have established.    During the event Teach First students explained character education learning and teaching activities that they had developed and tested in the classroom.  At the close of the event Tom spoke about the research the Jubilee Centre is conducting into character education as well as the practical implications of it. 

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Dr. Tom Harrison Presents at TEESNet Annual Conference

09/07/15

Dr. Tom Harrison delivered the keynote presentation entitled ‘Universal Virtues for a Universal Purpose?’ at the TEESNet annual conference at Liverpool Hope University on the 9th July.  The presentation explored the links between character education, global citizenship, sustainability and human flourishing. Conference proceedings will be available on the TEESNet website in September.

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Dr Blaire Morgan Presents at Positive Psychology Congress

08/07/15

Dr. Blaire Morgan, Research Fellow at the Centre, presented a paper titled: ‘Understanding and Measuring How Gratitude is Experienced in the UK’ at the International Positive Psychology Association’s Fourth World Congress on Positive Psychology in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on 25 – 28 June 2015. The congress featured more than 100 presentations from a global community of scholars, practitioners, and students within the field of positive psychology including plenary presentations by Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson and Tal Ben-Shahar. 

An abstract of Dr. Morgan’s paper is provided below:

Gratitude is a complex, multi-faceted construct and is experienced in diverse ways. For example, in contrast to the prevailing view of gratitude as positive, we present findings showing it is not always experienced positively, especially in adult populations. Furthermore, our research, using specially designed and innovative methods, demonstrates that some aspects of gratitude appear to exhibit generational differences. Whilst adults appear to afford gratitude a higher level of importance than adolescents, they are also more ambivalent in their assessments of whether cost/risk during benefaction is deemed virtuous or foolhardy.

To probe the complex concept of gratitude further we developed the Multi-Component Gratitude Measure (MCGM), the first tool to incorporate emotional, attitudinal and behavioural components, and profile individuals’ conceptual understanding of gratitude. The MCGM offers a more nuanced understanding of gratitude’s distinctive dimensions than existing measures. The MCGM enabled us to show that Christians in the UK report significantly higher ratings of grateful feeling than atheists but that there was no significant difference between these groups regarding attitudes and behaviours relating to gratitude. This psychometrically robust measure thus captures subtle differences outside the scope of existing measures.

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Centre Welcomes Sir Nick Parker

02/07/15

On 2nd July 2015, the Centre was delighted to welcome Sir Nick Parker, Chairman of Step Up To Serve.  As part of his visit to the Centre, Sir Parker met with members of the Centre's research team to discuss plans for new projects, with a particular focus on the Soliders of Character project.  Sir Nick Parker will also be speaking at the Centre's Youth Awards ceremony, as part of the annual Jubilee Awards for Service, which takes place at the House of Lords on 30th July.

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Centre co-hosts ‘The Character Education Conference’

26/06/15

On 25th June, the Jubilee Centre co-hosted a conference on character education in partnership with the Stourbridge Teaching Schools Alliance.  The conference was held at Redhill School and was attended by 80 primary and secondary teachers from across the region.  Centre Director Professor James Arthur gave the opening keynote address.  Director of Development Dr Tom Harrison and Teaching Fellow Ian Morris facilitated a workshop on the Framework for Character Education in Schools and the Principles for Schools of Character.  Other workshops were run by schools that had won recent DfE Character Awards including Kings Langley School and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.    

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Centre Staff Guest Lecture at UNICEF Montenegro Workshop

26/06/15
Director of Partnerships Dr. Sandra Cooke and Centre Manager Aidan Thompson visited Podgorica, Montenegro on 23rd-24th June to deliver presentations at the Quality Education ‘My Virtues and Values’ workshop at the Bureau of Education. The two-day seminar, run in partnership between the Bureau, UNICEF Montenegro and the Jubilee Centre, brought together primary teachers in Montenegro and the project team working to develop a primary curriculum for character education in the country. Sandra and Aidan gave presentations which introduced the Centre’s work, with a particular focus on how the Framework for Character Education in Schools was developed, as well as introducing the Programmes of Study that the Centre has created, and how a ‘whole school’ approach to character education can be developed. The workshops mixed the theoretical and practical approaches to developing character in the classroom, and the teachers involved in the project shared their insights into experiences, successes and challenges faced in adopting a moral focus to education.

In addition to the workshop, Sandra and Aidan were invited to give a guest seminar to a group of over 50 young people as part of a UNICEF Montenegro series of lectures in the UN building in Podgorica. Sandra and Aidan presented a background to the Jubilee Centre, and challenged the audience to discuss 2 of the moral dilemmas used in the Character Education in UK Schools project. Photos from both the workshop and the guest lecture are available in the Media Centre.
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The Jubilee Centre at the Festival of Education 2015

22/06/15

On 18th-19th June 2015 the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues exhibited and presented at the Sunday Times Festival of Education, held at Wellington College.  The Centre gave a series of talks introducing its work on character education in schools, with a focus on the 'taught or caught' debate. Presentations were given by Dr. Tom Harrison and Ian Morris and Dr. Sandra Cooke. The Centre engaged with a wide and varied audience and shared its extensive range of teaching resources with teachers, educationalists and other stakeholders who were attending the Festival.  The Centre's team also ran an interactive activity, which encouraged people to write down what they believed their greatest character strength to be. 

In addition to the exhibit and presentations, the Centre sponsored the lecture given by Dr. Angela Duckworth, of the University of Pennsylvania, which focussed on the performance virtue grit. 

 

For more information about the Festival please see here

 

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The Jubilee Centre Lecture by Dr. Angela Duckworth

19/06/15

At this year's Sunday Times Festival of Education, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues sponsored the lecture given by Dr. Angela Duckworth titled 'True Grit: Who succeeds in life?'.  Dr. Duckworth is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.  Her research focusses on self-control (the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the service of valued goals) and grit (perseverance and sustained interest in long-term goals) and in the lecture, Dr. Duckworth reviewed some of her previous work on grit. 

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Professor Christian Miller Visits Centre

19/06/15

The Jubilee Centre is delighted to have welcomed Professor Christian Miller, Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University, to the Centre on 15th - 19th June 2015.  During his time at the Centre, Professor Miller was able to hear more about the Centre's research findings and met with research staff working on the early stages of new projects.  Professor Miller also gave a seminar presentation as part of the Centre's bi-weekly seminar series, which looked at the virtue of honesty and is available to view here.  Professor Miller has also contributed a paper to the Centre's Insight Series.  The paper is titled 'How I got interested in the philosophy of character' and is available to read here.

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Centre Launches Website in Chinese

16/06/15

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues has developed a Chinese version of its website.  Now live, the website features all Centre reports and teaching resources and provides a comprehensive overview of the Centre's work in Mandarin Chinese.  The new website is available here.

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Honorary Senior Research Fellow Awarded Peerage

28/08/15

Jubilee Centre Honorary Senior Research Fellow and Managing Director of Floreat Education James O'Shaughnessy has been awarded a peerage to sit in the House of Lords. James has supported the work of the Jubilee Centre since its creation in 2012, and we are delighted for James to receive this honour. Floreat Education are establishing a chain of primary schools in the London area, and were awarded a grant by the Department for Education to develop a Character Virtue Development Programme which will produce a set of effective and easy-to-use materials for teachers to deliver character education in their classrooms. The Programme is designed to develop the virtue literacy and virtue behaviour of pupils, drawing from the Jubilee Centre's Knightly Virtues programme.

James said that he was 'thrilled' to be asked to sit in the House of Lords, and saw it as a 'huge privilege' and 'a wonderful opportunity...to make the case for positive education within Parliament.'

All at the Jubilee Centre would like to extend their congratulations to James.

More information about Floreat Education can be found via their website.

 

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson publishes in Res Philosophica.

25/08/15

Centre Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson has published ‘Grief: An Aristotelian Justification of an Emotional Virtue’ in the journal Res Philosophica. The article can be viewed here with the abstract provided below: 

Abstract: This article has three interrelated aims. The first is to analyze the concept of grief; the second is to argue for the putative rationality of grief (against Donald Gustafson’s contention to the contrary); and the third is to offer a moral justification of grief along broadly Aristotelian lines as an intrinsically valuable trait of character—a virtue. With regard to this third and ultimate aim, I argue not only that grief plays an unappreciated positive role in our moral experiences but flesh out a case for what exactly that positive moral role is. More precisely, I argue that grief is best justified as an Aristotelian desert-based emotional trait, incorporating two distinct desert-motivated desires, one specifically directed at the memory of the dead person as deserving of homage, the other more cosmically focusing on the general undeservingness of good people passing away. The argument goes against the grain of most previous instrumental justifications of grief and palpably violates David Konstan’s contention that grief involves “no reference to desert.”

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Professor James Arthur Joins Government's 'Preparation for Adult Life Group'

17/08/15

Professor James Arthur has joined the Government's Preparation for Adult Life group, chaired by Edward Timpson MP, Minister of State for Children and Families. The group will focus on ensuring all young people are well-rounded and are prepared for all aspects of adult life.

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Jubilee Awards for Service Ceremony 2015

31/07/15

On Thursday 30th July 2015, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues held the 2015 Jubilee Awards for Service, hosted by The Baroness Massey of Darwen in the House of Lords. The ceremony awarded and recognised 12 public sector award winners for their outstanding service. Award winners included firefighters, NHS workers, educators and those in local government.

The Jubilee Awards for Service is an annual awards programme celebrating the outstanding service of those working in the public sector. The awards recognise and reward individuals who go above and beyond their remit, dedicate their working life to helping others, or who have made a significant contribution to the lives of others through their work. Winners are nominated by grateful colleagues, friends, or members of the public and nominations are judged by an independent panel.

This year, 8 young people were also honoured as part of the Jubilee Awards for Service Youth Awards, run in partnership with Step Up to Serve. These young people have undertaken outstanding practical action in the service of others, including volunteering, campaigning, and fundraising. 

Details of the winners and their stories will be available shortly via the Jubilee Awards for Service page, and photos from the ceremony are available in the Media Centre.

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Professor James Arthur and Dr David Walker Visit British Army

31/07/15

On 29th July, Professor James Arthur and Dr David Walker visited a group of Army officers at 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade in Tidworth Garrison, Wiltshire. This visit formed part of the Centre's new project Soldiers of Character, which will explore character and virtue in the British Army. The officers acted as an ‘expert panel’ to contribute to the development of moral dilemmas, to be used in the research, that are realistic and credible for the British Army context.  

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50 Heads and Principals Lead the Way

30/07/15

On Monday 8th June, Step Up To Serve and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, invited 50 head teachers from across the U, who are currently leading the way in embedding character and social action into their schools and colleges, together for a one-day event. This short film shows the highlights of the event, which was held in London.  In the film, heads from a variety of schools and colleges share their reasons for putting character development and youth social action at the heart of their pupils' education.

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Centre Director Visits Ministry of Education in Tokyo, Japan

28/07/15

On 23rd – 26th July 2015, Centre Director Professor James Arthur visited the Ministry of Education in Tokyo, to discuss character education with Ministry officials.  During the trip, Professor Arthur spoke at an International Symposium held in Tokyo, then at Hiroshima University, introducing the work of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. As part of the work of the Research Initiative for the Development of Learning Systems at Hiroshima University, the International Symposium explored dignity and virtue in education.  Taking place at Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Education the Symposium formed part of an international project for citizenship and invited international speakers to come together to discuss character education.

Education in Japan recognises the importance of character development, but there is a need to revise the National Curriculum to embed character education within it, ensuring it is implemented in every school. The Ministry of Education will be introducing a new moral education curriculum in 2018 (primary schools) and 2019 (secondary schools). 

 

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Centre's Online Course in Character Education Open for Registrations

27/07/15

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues' free online course What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education is now open for registrations.  Starting on 26th October 2015, for two weeks, the course explores virtues and the role they play in helping both individuals and society flourish. The course will tap into an increasing interest in character education and answer important questions such as, what is character and character education, why is it important and can it be taught? The course draws on insights from leading experts at the Jubilee Centre, as well as hearing from practitioners with first-hand experience of the transformative power of implementing character education in day-to-day practices within a school. The course is being delivered in partnership with the University of Birmingham and FutureLearn and anyone is eligible to sign up.

You can watch the trailer, and register to join the course here.

The course will also provide a taster course for an exciting new MA in Character Education currently being developed by the University of Birmingham.  

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Centre Director Receives Founders’ Award for Excellence

23/07/15

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is delighted to announce that Professor James Arthur has won the University of Birmingham’s 2015 Founders' Award for Excellence in the area of Policy Advancement.  The Award recognises the outstanding contribution that Professor Arthur’s work as Director of the Jubilee Centre has made to policy development in the area of character education. The award was presented at a dinner hosted by the Chancellor of the University of Birmingham on Thursday 16th July 2015.

Now in their sixth year, these awards celebrate the very best academic work in the University. The four award categories are Academic, Policy, and Business Advancement, and an award for Outstanding Early-Career Academic. Whilst each award recognises a different area of expertise, all recognise work which has contributed to the advancement of the University’s reputation both nationally and internationally.

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New Association for Character Education Set to Launch

16/07/15

A new Association for Character Education (ACE) is set to launch in September 2015.  With an Executive Team in place, the Association will initially work to establish a kitemark for Schools of Character and will hold annual conferences, among other activities.  Membership for the first year of the Association will be free.  The Executive Team consists of:

Sir Iain Hall (Honorary President) - Kings Leadership Academy     
Gary Lewis (Chair) - Kings Langley School 
Dr. Tom Harrison (Secretary) - Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
Professor James Arthur - Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues
Linda Sanders - The Laurels School 
Vicky Beer - Ashton on Mersey School
Michael Roden - University of Birmingham School
Geoff Smith - Kelhelland School 
James O'Shaughnessy - Floreat Education 

 

To register your interest or find out more about ACE, please contact Dr. Tom Harrison t.j.harrison@bham.ac.uk

 

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Poll Shows Continued Support in Parliament for Character Education

16/07/15

A new poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of the Jubilee Centre shows that there is continued and considerable support for the teaching of character education in schools among MPs. The poll of 150 MPs aimed to assess the views of MPs with regards to character and virtue education in schools, and within the legal, medical and teaching professions, with the sample being representative of the House of Commons by party, region and length of service. Compared to a similar pre-election poll conducted in December 2014, MPs are now five percentage points more likely to agree that character education should be taught in schools.  The value of character education is clearly noted, with an increase in cross-party consensus, with three quarters of MPs agreeing that developing a sense of moral values is as important for school children as good GCSE and A-level results. The poll results also show  that MPs see the importance of training teachers in character education, with the vast majority continuing to see the importance of character in the medical and legal professions as well. The full results of the June 2015 survey of MPs can be found here.  

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New ResPublica Report 'In Professions We Trust'

15/07/15

Independent policy think tank ResPublica has launched a new report titled 'In Professions We Trust: Fostering virtuous practitioners in teaching, law and medicine'.  The report draws on the research carried out by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues into the role of virtue in the professions of law, teaching and medicine, and provides recommendations for how practitioners can restore public trust in each profession and continue to serve the common good . The report was launched at the House of Lords on Tuesday 14th July with a panel discussion, which included report author and Director of ResPublica Phillip Blond, co-author of the report Professor Elena Antonacopoulou, Conservative MP Dr Dan Poulter, Deputy Secretary General of NASUWT Patrick Roach and Lord Phillips of Sudbury. More information about the report and its recommendations is available here, and you can read the report in full here.

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Centre's Department for Education Project Launches

10/07/15

On 7th and 8th July, the Centre's new project Teaching Character: through and within subjects launched, with teachers from schools across the UK coming together for the first time.  Funded by the Department for Education, the project will explore ways in which character traits can be drawn out from the teaching curriculum through 14 different subjects.  Over the course of the project, teachers, in partnership with academics from the Jubilee Centre, will create, pilot, evaluate and refine materials that will then be made freely available to schools.   This two-day workshop took place at Horton Grange, University of Birmingham, and consisted of an overview of both the project and the work of the Centre.  Teachers who will be involved in the project were given the opportunity to begin laying the foundations for the schemes of work they will be producing in each of their individual subjects.  The teachers involved cover a range of different curriculum subjects: Mathematics, English, Science, Geography, History, Computing, Languages, PSHE, Citizenship, Art and Design, Music, Design and Technology, Religious Education and Physical Education. 

 

Richard Farnan, a teacher involved in the project said: 

"The Jubilee Centre's work on virtues is a really important step in helping students become well-rounded, good people.

It has been really exciting to work on such a positive programme with other teachers and start working on resources which students across the country can really benefit from."

 

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Dr. Tom Harrison Speaks at Teach First Network Event

09/07/15

On Thursday 2nd July, Dr. Tom Harrison spoke at the Teach First event entitled ‘Teach First Character in Education – Bringing your vision to life’ – organised by the West Midland Division of Teach First.  The event was part of the character education network that Teach First have established.    During the event Teach First students explained character education learning and teaching activities that they had developed and tested in the classroom.  At the close of the event Tom spoke about the research the Jubilee Centre is conducting into character education as well as the practical implications of it. 

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Dr. Tom Harrison Presents at TEESNet Annual Conference

09/07/15

Dr. Tom Harrison delivered the keynote presentation entitled ‘Universal Virtues for a Universal Purpose?’ at the TEESNet annual conference at Liverpool Hope University on the 9th July.  The presentation explored the links between character education, global citizenship, sustainability and human flourishing. Conference proceedings will be available on the TEESNet website in September.

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Dr Blaire Morgan Presents at Positive Psychology Congress

08/07/15

Dr. Blaire Morgan, Research Fellow at the Centre, presented a paper titled: ‘Understanding and Measuring How Gratitude is Experienced in the UK’ at the International Positive Psychology Association’s Fourth World Congress on Positive Psychology in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on 25 – 28 June 2015. The congress featured more than 100 presentations from a global community of scholars, practitioners, and students within the field of positive psychology including plenary presentations by Martin Seligman, Barbara Fredrickson and Tal Ben-Shahar. 

An abstract of Dr. Morgan’s paper is provided below:

Gratitude is a complex, multi-faceted construct and is experienced in diverse ways. For example, in contrast to the prevailing view of gratitude as positive, we present findings showing it is not always experienced positively, especially in adult populations. Furthermore, our research, using specially designed and innovative methods, demonstrates that some aspects of gratitude appear to exhibit generational differences. Whilst adults appear to afford gratitude a higher level of importance than adolescents, they are also more ambivalent in their assessments of whether cost/risk during benefaction is deemed virtuous or foolhardy.

To probe the complex concept of gratitude further we developed the Multi-Component Gratitude Measure (MCGM), the first tool to incorporate emotional, attitudinal and behavioural components, and profile individuals’ conceptual understanding of gratitude. The MCGM offers a more nuanced understanding of gratitude’s distinctive dimensions than existing measures. The MCGM enabled us to show that Christians in the UK report significantly higher ratings of grateful feeling than atheists but that there was no significant difference between these groups regarding attitudes and behaviours relating to gratitude. This psychometrically robust measure thus captures subtle differences outside the scope of existing measures.

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Centre Welcomes Sir Nick Parker

02/07/15

On 2nd July 2015, the Centre was delighted to welcome Sir Nick Parker, Chairman of Step Up To Serve.  As part of his visit to the Centre, Sir Parker met with members of the Centre's research team to discuss plans for new projects, with a particular focus on the Soliders of Character project.  Sir Nick Parker will also be speaking at the Centre's Youth Awards ceremony, as part of the annual Jubilee Awards for Service, which takes place at the House of Lords on 30th July.

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Centre co-hosts ‘The Character Education Conference’

26/06/15

On 25th June, the Jubilee Centre co-hosted a conference on character education in partnership with the Stourbridge Teaching Schools Alliance.  The conference was held at Redhill School and was attended by 80 primary and secondary teachers from across the region.  Centre Director Professor James Arthur gave the opening keynote address.  Director of Development Dr Tom Harrison and Teaching Fellow Ian Morris facilitated a workshop on the Framework for Character Education in Schools and the Principles for Schools of Character.  Other workshops were run by schools that had won recent DfE Character Awards including Kings Langley School and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School.    

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Centre Staff Guest Lecture at UNICEF Montenegro Workshop

26/06/15
Director of Partnerships Dr. Sandra Cooke and Centre Manager Aidan Thompson visited Podgorica, Montenegro on 23rd-24th June to deliver presentations at the Quality Education ‘My Virtues and Values’ workshop at the Bureau of Education. The two-day seminar, run in partnership between the Bureau, UNICEF Montenegro and the Jubilee Centre, brought together primary teachers in Montenegro and the project team working to develop a primary curriculum for character education in the country. Sandra and Aidan gave presentations which introduced the Centre’s work, with a particular focus on how the Framework for Character Education in Schools was developed, as well as introducing the Programmes of Study that the Centre has created, and how a ‘whole school’ approach to character education can be developed. The workshops mixed the theoretical and practical approaches to developing character in the classroom, and the teachers involved in the project shared their insights into experiences, successes and challenges faced in adopting a moral focus to education.

In addition to the workshop, Sandra and Aidan were invited to give a guest seminar to a group of over 50 young people as part of a UNICEF Montenegro series of lectures in the UN building in Podgorica. Sandra and Aidan presented a background to the Jubilee Centre, and challenged the audience to discuss 2 of the moral dilemmas used in the Character Education in UK Schools project. Photos from both the workshop and the guest lecture are available in the Media Centre.
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The Jubilee Centre at the Festival of Education 2015

22/06/15

On 18th-19th June 2015 the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues exhibited and presented at the Sunday Times Festival of Education, held at Wellington College.  The Centre gave a series of talks introducing its work on character education in schools, with a focus on the 'taught or caught' debate. Presentations were given by Dr. Tom Harrison and Ian Morris and Dr. Sandra Cooke. The Centre engaged with a wide and varied audience and shared its extensive range of teaching resources with teachers, educationalists and other stakeholders who were attending the Festival.  The Centre's team also ran an interactive activity, which encouraged people to write down what they believed their greatest character strength to be. 

In addition to the exhibit and presentations, the Centre sponsored the lecture given by Dr. Angela Duckworth, of the University of Pennsylvania, which focussed on the performance virtue grit. 

 

For more information about the Festival please see here

 

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The Jubilee Centre Lecture by Dr. Angela Duckworth

19/06/15

At this year's Sunday Times Festival of Education, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues sponsored the lecture given by Dr. Angela Duckworth titled 'True Grit: Who succeeds in life?'.  Dr. Duckworth is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow.  Her research focusses on self-control (the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts, and feelings in the service of valued goals) and grit (perseverance and sustained interest in long-term goals) and in the lecture, Dr. Duckworth reviewed some of her previous work on grit. 

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Professor Christian Miller Visits Centre

19/06/15

The Jubilee Centre is delighted to have welcomed Professor Christian Miller, Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University, to the Centre on 15th - 19th June 2015.  During his time at the Centre, Professor Miller was able to hear more about the Centre's research findings and met with research staff working on the early stages of new projects.  Professor Miller also gave a seminar presentation as part of the Centre's bi-weekly seminar series, which looked at the virtue of honesty and is available to view here.  Professor Miller has also contributed a paper to the Centre's Insight Series.  The paper is titled 'How I got interested in the philosophy of character' and is available to read here.

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Centre Launches Website in Chinese

16/06/15

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues has developed a Chinese version of its website.  Now live, the website features all Centre reports and teaching resources and provides a comprehensive overview of the Centre's work in Mandarin Chinese.  The new website is available here.

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