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@JubileeCentre1 tweet

Musings on character and measurability, in the aftermath of the @JubileeCentre1 debate last week: https://t.co/R35OqOudrm

Quote of the week

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

Centre Staff to Publish in 'Personality and Individual Differences'

29/11/16

Jubilee Centre Research Fellows Dr Blaire Morgan and Dr Liz Gulliford, and Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, are to have their journal article published by Personality and Individual Differences. The paper, entitled ‘A new approach to measuring moral virtues: The Multi-Component Gratitude Measure’, introduces a new method of assessing moral virtue. The article is to be published early in the New Year but special free access to the article is available until the 18th January, 2017, and can be accessed by clicking here. The paper’s abstract can be read below:

Empirical explorations of moral virtues have increased dramatically recently. This paper introduces a new method of assessing moral virtue using gratitude as an example; a virtue that continues to be a topic of great interest in psychology, philosophy and education. We argue, and demonstrate empirically, that to comprehensively examine a moral virtue, it is necessary to explore its cognitive, affective, attitudinal (including motivational), and behavioural aspects. We have created the ‘Multi-Component Gratitude Measure’ (MCGM) comprised of four components, each designed to assess a distinct dimension of the virtue of gratitude: (a) conceptions (or understandings) of gratitude; (b) grateful emotions; (c) attitudes towards gratitude; and (d) gratitude-related behaviours. In contrast to existing measures, the MCGM aims to comprehensively examine the major components that constitute this complex moral construct. In two studies we illustrate the value of assessing these four components of gratitude and how individuals can differ in the number and ‘type’ of components they exemplify. Importantly, we demonstrate how well-being increases linearly with the number of components a person possesses, as measured by three distinct measures of well-being. We discuss individual differences in gratitude experience and what this means for personal flourishing as well as future measurement of moral constructs.

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Centre Celebrates #iwill week & 2016 Ambassadors

25/11/16

On Monday 21st November 2016, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues celebrated #iwill week and honoured 50 new Ambassadors for the #iwill campaign at Church House with BBC Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts. 

The Ambassador event kicked off #iwillWeek, a national celebration of young people making a difference in their communities. The event also saw the launch of a multimillion fund for youth social action programmes following a £40 million investment from Government and the Big Lottery Fund.

BBC Radio 1 presenter, Adele Roberts, was on hand to present the Ambassadors with their certificates and hear their stories, who said,

“So many young people across the UK are getting involved every day in inspirational activity supporting others in their communities. Some of them are now young Ambassadors for the #iwill campaign, and meeting them was so incredible, it really showed that those as young as 10 are more than capable of making a difference to others, and that getting involved had so many benefits for them too. 

We need as many people as possible to get behind the #iwill campaign to unlock more opportunities for young people across the UK to get involved!”

This is the 3rd year running that the #iwill campaign has acknowledged young Ambassadors, thanks to funding from the Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues. These Ambassadors are appointed to celebrate and champion the role that young people can play in making a difference to their community through volunteering, campaigning or fundraising.  With a campaign goal of getting 6 in ten young people regularly taking part in ‘social action’ by 2020, the #iwill campaign is calling on organisations across society to recognise and celebrate the impact of young people and create more opportunities for them to take part.

The Ambassador event also showcased the double benefit of participating in social action. Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues, at the University of Birmingham, who was joined by Adele Roberts in presenting the certificates, said,

Young people who get involved in social action are having a positive impact on people around them, but at the same time are also benefitting themselves through the development of character virtues including humility, service and resilience”. 

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Why Character Matters in Education

25/11/16

On Thursday 24th November 2016, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues hosted 4 former Secretaries of State for Education, or Shadow Secretaries of State for Education at Character Matters. The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, the Rt. Hon Nicky Morgan MP, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Estelle Morris, and the Hon. Tristram Hunt MP all spoke on Why Character Matters in Education. The sold out event for staff and students of the University of Birmingham was a great success, with the speakers forming a panel to answer questions from the audience on the importance of character in education.

Senior Fellow in the Jubilee Centre, Lord James O'Shaughnessy chaired the event, with Prof. Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham, giving the vote of thanks.

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Deputy Director's book features in a special section of Journal of Moral Education

23/11/16

A whole section of the latest issue of Journal of Moral Education (vol. 45, issue 4, 2016) is devoted to a discussion of Professor Kristján Kristjánsson's book, Aristotelian Character Education, which recently won the Society for Educational Studies 2016 Book Prize.

http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjme20/45/4?nav=tocList

In this section, Kristjánsson presents a précis of the book, followed by critiques by three commentators, Professors Randall Curren, Daniel Lapsley and Christian Miller. Finally, Kristjánsson offers a response to the commentaries. 

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Centre's Online Course Reaches 17,000 Learners

15/11/16

In October 2016, the Centre delivered its free online course What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education for the fourth time, attracting more than 17,000 learners from across the world since launching in January 2015.  The course, which is run in partnership with FutureLearn, has generated extensive discussion about character education, and in particular, the caught/taught debate - whether character should be taught in schools, and how it should be taught.  Collectively across the course runs, more than 23,000 comments have been posted by learners on the course discussion boards demonstrating widespread engagement with the topic. The course also continues to provide an excellent taster experience for anyone interested in further study in the area of character education, and in particular the University of Birmingham's new MA in Character Education. You can find out more here. Any future dates for the What is Character? course will be announced in the Centre's monthly e-newsletter.

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Centre Publishes Character Education Evaluation Handbook for Schools

15/11/16

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is delighted to launch its Character Education Evaluation Handbook for Schools. The Handbook, which has been developed in consultation with an expert group of academics, teachers and other educationalists, provides a practical introduction to the evaluation of character education in primary and secondary schools, equipping them with the tools needed to enhance and improve their character education provision.

Divided into an introduction, and four subsequent sections, the Handbook:

  • Provides advice, guidance and tools to enable schools to implement the principles and practice of self-evaluation to enhance and improve their character education provision; 
  • Is intended to be a source of inspiration that schools should adapt to their own context;
  • Is based on the premise that by using varied forms of self-evaluation teachers can develop a holistic and formative picture of their school’s character-education profile; and    
  • Is designed to support the recent movement in schools to self-evaluate their own practice. School-led approaches to self-evaluation are now commonplace in most schools, including the Ofsted framework whereby inspectors often use the outcomes from self-evaluation as the starting point for their inspections.  

You can access the handbook in full here.

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Policy Brief: National Citizen Service Bill

15/11/16

The Jubilee Centre has prepared an evidence-informed policy briefing to coincide with the passing of a Bill through Parliament to enshrine the National Citizen Service via Royal Charter. The briefing, which the Centre distributed to all Lords who have spoken to the Bill, was informed by the Centre's extensive research around character and youth social action, as well as early findings from the current Habits of Service project. The paper is available to view here.

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Centre Director Publishes in the Journal of International and Comparative Education

14/11/16

Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, has had an article published in the Journal of International and Comparative Education (JICE). The article, titled ‘Convergence on Policy Goals: Character Education in East Asia and England’, can be accessed here. The abstract can be read below:

The goal of character building in east Asian countries is often presented as a shared cultural construct and positioned within an east-west dichotomy. However, it is not at all clear that east Asian forms of character education are identifiable and distinct or that they always transcend national and cultural values. Jeynes (2008) has cautioned us to remember that cultural differences limit the extent to which we can learn lessons from another country, but how authoritative is this caution' The English Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, announced in December 2014 that she intended to secure England's place as a global leader by expanding the nation's provision and evidence base for character education. In this context, this article asks whether England shares any commonalities in the so-called east-west dichotomy on character education-are they mutually exclusive or are they compatible. Is there a west-individual view and an east - collective view' Is the character education movement in east Asia more of an ideological and political movement' As the British government looks for policy solutions to new and challenging problems, including character education, what answers can it find from abroad' What can it learn, borrow or pinch from these east Asian countries and is there a convergence on policy goals for character education within and across these countries' The paper is based on the work (translated) of prominent east Asian academics and builds on the author's personal interface with officials in the Ministry of Education in Japan and Singapore as well as meetings and conferences with numerous academics in universities across east Asian countries to address these questions.

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Wins 2016 SES Books Prize

11/11/16

On Thursday 10th November 2016, Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson was presented with the 2016 Society for Educational Studies Books Prize for his sole-authored book Aristotelian Character Education (2015, Routledge). Kristján was awarded 1st prize of £2,000. The Society for Educational Studies Books Prize has a long standing tradition of awarding the best books in the field of education studies published each year. SES judge books based on the quality of research and/or scholarship; originality of analysis and argument; theory/practice relation; and quality and accessibility of writing. The award was made at the 2016 SES Fellows' Dinner, and Chair of the Books Prize Sub-Committee, Prof. Andrew Peterson (Canterbury Christ Church University) made the presentation. Congratulations to Kristján on this prestigious award.

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Guest Lectures at University of Birmingham School

08/11/16

On Thursday 3rd November, Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, delivered a guest lecture at the University of Birmingham School.  Speaking to A-level students at the school’s 6th form, Prof. Kristjánsson taught two classes introducing Aristotelian virtue ethics. The guest lecture forms part of the ongoing partnership between the Jubilee Centre and the University of Birmingham School, which delivers a bespoke curriculum, developed in collaboration with the Jubilee Centre, focussing on character. The school is now in its second academic year having opened in September 2015 and was recently praised by the Prime Minister.

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Deputy Director Joins New JTF-Funded Project

04/11/16

DEPUTY DIRECTOR JOINS CORE TEAM OF NEW JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION FUNDED PROJECT

Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, has joined the core team of a new JTF-funded project, "The Pathways to Character", run out of Arizona State University and Wake Forest University. The overarching goal of the project is to stimulate research on whether and how adversity, challenge, or failure could potentially influence growth in character strengths and virtues. 

The main activity of the proposed work is to hold a Request for Proposal (RFP) that is open across disciplines, including Psychology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies with the goal of seeding two million dollars’ worth of research on this topic by a wide range of scholars. 

The other core team members are:

William Fleeson, Wake Forest University

Patricia Frazier, University of Minnesota

Richard Lerner, Tufts University

Crystal Park, University of Connecticut

Jacqui Smith, University of Michigan

Howard Tennen, University of Connecticut

Valerie Tiberius, University of Minnesota

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Professor David Carr Presents at Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow, Poland

31/10/16

On Thursday 27th October 2016, Professor David Carr presented an invited keynote paper entitled ‘Literature, rival conceptions and virtue and moral education’ at a conference under the heading of ‘Word in Education: Moral Upbringing through Arts and Literature’ at the Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow, Poland. The conference was the fourth in a series exploring the educational implications of art and literature and attracted contributions from all over Europe, including Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Lithuania and the UK, as well as from North and South America. Professor Carr’s paper provided a critique of Alasdair MacIntyre; you can view the presentation here.

 

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Professor James Arthur and Dr Tom Harrison Lecture at Conference in Rome

24/10/16

Professor James Arthur (Director of the Jubilee Centre) and Dr Tom Harrison (Director of Education at the Jubilee Centre) delivered a presentation at Holy Cross Pontifical University on the 18th October as part of the ‘Character Education and Digital Lifestyles’ three day professional course in Rome. The title of their talk was Character Education: The virtues at the centre of adolescent’s life. The PowerPoint slides for which are available to view by clicking here.

Further information about the conference can be found here

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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 law, teaching 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 post. A press release was also issued to interested media parties. 

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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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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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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 Keynote 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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Centre Staff to Publish in 'Personality and Individual Differences'

29/11/16

Jubilee Centre Research Fellows Dr Blaire Morgan and Dr Liz Gulliford, and Deputy Director Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, are to have their journal article published by Personality and Individual Differences. The paper, entitled ‘A new approach to measuring moral virtues: The Multi-Component Gratitude Measure’, introduces a new method of assessing moral virtue. The article is to be published early in the New Year but special free access to the article is available until the 18th January, 2017, and can be accessed by clicking here. The paper’s abstract can be read below:

Empirical explorations of moral virtues have increased dramatically recently. This paper introduces a new method of assessing moral virtue using gratitude as an example; a virtue that continues to be a topic of great interest in psychology, philosophy and education. We argue, and demonstrate empirically, that to comprehensively examine a moral virtue, it is necessary to explore its cognitive, affective, attitudinal (including motivational), and behavioural aspects. We have created the ‘Multi-Component Gratitude Measure’ (MCGM) comprised of four components, each designed to assess a distinct dimension of the virtue of gratitude: (a) conceptions (or understandings) of gratitude; (b) grateful emotions; (c) attitudes towards gratitude; and (d) gratitude-related behaviours. In contrast to existing measures, the MCGM aims to comprehensively examine the major components that constitute this complex moral construct. In two studies we illustrate the value of assessing these four components of gratitude and how individuals can differ in the number and ‘type’ of components they exemplify. Importantly, we demonstrate how well-being increases linearly with the number of components a person possesses, as measured by three distinct measures of well-being. We discuss individual differences in gratitude experience and what this means for personal flourishing as well as future measurement of moral constructs.

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Centre Celebrates #iwill week & 2016 Ambassadors

25/11/16

On Monday 21st November 2016, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues celebrated #iwill week and honoured 50 new Ambassadors for the #iwill campaign at Church House with BBC Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts. 

The Ambassador event kicked off #iwillWeek, a national celebration of young people making a difference in their communities. The event also saw the launch of a multimillion fund for youth social action programmes following a £40 million investment from Government and the Big Lottery Fund.

BBC Radio 1 presenter, Adele Roberts, was on hand to present the Ambassadors with their certificates and hear their stories, who said,

“So many young people across the UK are getting involved every day in inspirational activity supporting others in their communities. Some of them are now young Ambassadors for the #iwill campaign, and meeting them was so incredible, it really showed that those as young as 10 are more than capable of making a difference to others, and that getting involved had so many benefits for them too. 

We need as many people as possible to get behind the #iwill campaign to unlock more opportunities for young people across the UK to get involved!”

This is the 3rd year running that the #iwill campaign has acknowledged young Ambassadors, thanks to funding from the Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues. These Ambassadors are appointed to celebrate and champion the role that young people can play in making a difference to their community through volunteering, campaigning or fundraising.  With a campaign goal of getting 6 in ten young people regularly taking part in ‘social action’ by 2020, the #iwill campaign is calling on organisations across society to recognise and celebrate the impact of young people and create more opportunities for them to take part.

The Ambassador event also showcased the double benefit of participating in social action. Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtues, at the University of Birmingham, who was joined by Adele Roberts in presenting the certificates, said,

Young people who get involved in social action are having a positive impact on people around them, but at the same time are also benefitting themselves through the development of character virtues including humility, service and resilience”. 

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Why Character Matters in Education

25/11/16

On Thursday 24th November 2016, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues hosted 4 former Secretaries of State for Education, or Shadow Secretaries of State for Education at Character Matters. The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, the Rt. Hon Nicky Morgan MP, the Rt. Hon. Baroness Estelle Morris, and the Hon. Tristram Hunt MP all spoke on Why Character Matters in Education. The sold out event for staff and students of the University of Birmingham was a great success, with the speakers forming a panel to answer questions from the audience on the importance of character in education.

Senior Fellow in the Jubilee Centre, Lord James O'Shaughnessy chaired the event, with Prof. Sir Anthony Seldon, University of Buckingham, giving the vote of thanks.

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Deputy Director's book features in a special section of Journal of Moral Education

23/11/16

A whole section of the latest issue of Journal of Moral Education (vol. 45, issue 4, 2016) is devoted to a discussion of Professor Kristján Kristjánsson's book, Aristotelian Character Education, which recently won the Society for Educational Studies 2016 Book Prize.

http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cjme20/45/4?nav=tocList

In this section, Kristjánsson presents a précis of the book, followed by critiques by three commentators, Professors Randall Curren, Daniel Lapsley and Christian Miller. Finally, Kristjánsson offers a response to the commentaries. 

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Centre's Online Course Reaches 17,000 Learners

15/11/16

In October 2016, the Centre delivered its free online course What is Character? Virtue Ethics in Education for the fourth time, attracting more than 17,000 learners from across the world since launching in January 2015.  The course, which is run in partnership with FutureLearn, has generated extensive discussion about character education, and in particular, the caught/taught debate - whether character should be taught in schools, and how it should be taught.  Collectively across the course runs, more than 23,000 comments have been posted by learners on the course discussion boards demonstrating widespread engagement with the topic. The course also continues to provide an excellent taster experience for anyone interested in further study in the area of character education, and in particular the University of Birmingham's new MA in Character Education. You can find out more here. Any future dates for the What is Character? course will be announced in the Centre's monthly e-newsletter.

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Centre Publishes Character Education Evaluation Handbook for Schools

15/11/16

The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues is delighted to launch its Character Education Evaluation Handbook for Schools. The Handbook, which has been developed in consultation with an expert group of academics, teachers and other educationalists, provides a practical introduction to the evaluation of character education in primary and secondary schools, equipping them with the tools needed to enhance and improve their character education provision.

Divided into an introduction, and four subsequent sections, the Handbook:

  • Provides advice, guidance and tools to enable schools to implement the principles and practice of self-evaluation to enhance and improve their character education provision; 
  • Is intended to be a source of inspiration that schools should adapt to their own context;
  • Is based on the premise that by using varied forms of self-evaluation teachers can develop a holistic and formative picture of their school’s character-education profile; and    
  • Is designed to support the recent movement in schools to self-evaluate their own practice. School-led approaches to self-evaluation are now commonplace in most schools, including the Ofsted framework whereby inspectors often use the outcomes from self-evaluation as the starting point for their inspections.  

You can access the handbook in full here.

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Policy Brief: National Citizen Service Bill

15/11/16

The Jubilee Centre has prepared an evidence-informed policy briefing to coincide with the passing of a Bill through Parliament to enshrine the National Citizen Service via Royal Charter. The briefing, which the Centre distributed to all Lords who have spoken to the Bill, was informed by the Centre's extensive research around character and youth social action, as well as early findings from the current Habits of Service project. The paper is available to view here.

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Centre Director Publishes in the Journal of International and Comparative Education

14/11/16

Professor James Arthur, Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, has had an article published in the Journal of International and Comparative Education (JICE). The article, titled ‘Convergence on Policy Goals: Character Education in East Asia and England’, can be accessed here. The abstract can be read below:

The goal of character building in east Asian countries is often presented as a shared cultural construct and positioned within an east-west dichotomy. However, it is not at all clear that east Asian forms of character education are identifiable and distinct or that they always transcend national and cultural values. Jeynes (2008) has cautioned us to remember that cultural differences limit the extent to which we can learn lessons from another country, but how authoritative is this caution' The English Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, announced in December 2014 that she intended to secure England's place as a global leader by expanding the nation's provision and evidence base for character education. In this context, this article asks whether England shares any commonalities in the so-called east-west dichotomy on character education-are they mutually exclusive or are they compatible. Is there a west-individual view and an east - collective view' Is the character education movement in east Asia more of an ideological and political movement' As the British government looks for policy solutions to new and challenging problems, including character education, what answers can it find from abroad' What can it learn, borrow or pinch from these east Asian countries and is there a convergence on policy goals for character education within and across these countries' The paper is based on the work (translated) of prominent east Asian academics and builds on the author's personal interface with officials in the Ministry of Education in Japan and Singapore as well as meetings and conferences with numerous academics in universities across east Asian countries to address these questions.

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Wins 2016 SES Books Prize

11/11/16

On Thursday 10th November 2016, Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson was presented with the 2016 Society for Educational Studies Books Prize for his sole-authored book Aristotelian Character Education (2015, Routledge). Kristján was awarded 1st prize of £2,000. The Society for Educational Studies Books Prize has a long standing tradition of awarding the best books in the field of education studies published each year. SES judge books based on the quality of research and/or scholarship; originality of analysis and argument; theory/practice relation; and quality and accessibility of writing. The award was made at the 2016 SES Fellows' Dinner, and Chair of the Books Prize Sub-Committee, Prof. Andrew Peterson (Canterbury Christ Church University) made the presentation. Congratulations to Kristján on this prestigious award.

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Professor Kristján Kristjánsson Guest Lectures at University of Birmingham School

08/11/16

On Thursday 3rd November, Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, delivered a guest lecture at the University of Birmingham School.  Speaking to A-level students at the school’s 6th form, Prof. Kristjánsson taught two classes introducing Aristotelian virtue ethics. The guest lecture forms part of the ongoing partnership between the Jubilee Centre and the University of Birmingham School, which delivers a bespoke curriculum, developed in collaboration with the Jubilee Centre, focussing on character. The school is now in its second academic year having opened in September 2015 and was recently praised by the Prime Minister.

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Deputy Director Joins New JTF-Funded Project

04/11/16

DEPUTY DIRECTOR JOINS CORE TEAM OF NEW JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION FUNDED PROJECT

Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre, Professor Kristján Kristjánsson, has joined the core team of a new JTF-funded project, "The Pathways to Character", run out of Arizona State University and Wake Forest University. The overarching goal of the project is to stimulate research on whether and how adversity, challenge, or failure could potentially influence growth in character strengths and virtues. 

The main activity of the proposed work is to hold a Request for Proposal (RFP) that is open across disciplines, including Psychology, Philosophy, and Religious Studies with the goal of seeding two million dollars’ worth of research on this topic by a wide range of scholars. 

The other core team members are:

William Fleeson, Wake Forest University

Patricia Frazier, University of Minnesota

Richard Lerner, Tufts University

Crystal Park, University of Connecticut

Jacqui Smith, University of Michigan

Howard Tennen, University of Connecticut

Valerie Tiberius, University of Minnesota

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Professor David Carr Presents at Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow, Poland

31/10/16

On Thursday 27th October 2016, Professor David Carr presented an invited keynote paper entitled ‘Literature, rival conceptions and virtue and moral education’ at a conference under the heading of ‘Word in Education: Moral Upbringing through Arts and Literature’ at the Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow, Poland. The conference was the fourth in a series exploring the educational implications of art and literature and attracted contributions from all over Europe, including Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Lithuania and the UK, as well as from North and South America. Professor Carr’s paper provided a critique of Alasdair MacIntyre; you can view the presentation here.

 

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Professor James Arthur and Dr Tom Harrison Lecture at Conference in Rome

24/10/16

Professor James Arthur (Director of the Jubilee Centre) and Dr Tom Harrison (Director of Education at the Jubilee Centre) delivered a presentation at Holy Cross Pontifical University on the 18th October as part of the ‘Character Education and Digital Lifestyles’ three day professional course in Rome. The title of their talk was Character Education: The virtues at the centre of adolescent’s life. The PowerPoint slides for which are available to view by clicking here.

Further information about the conference can be found here

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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 law, teaching 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 post. A press release was also issued to interested media parties. 

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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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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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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 Keynote 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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