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Knightly Virtues

The Knightly Virtues Programme, designed to enhance Virtue Literacy through stories, has been incredibly popular with both teachers and students.  So far, over 7,000 primary school pupils have taken part in the programme, making it one of the largest projects of its kind. The research project has now concluded, and the full report is available below, along with links to the resources and trial data. The Executive Summary is reproduced here.

 

 

 Knightly Virtues - Executive Summary 

There is a growing consensus in Britain on the importance of character, and on the belief that the virtues that contribute to good character are part of the solution to many of the challenges facing modern society.

Parents, teachers and schools understand the need to teach basic moral virtues to pupils, such as honesty, self-control, fairness and respect, while fostering behaviour associated with such virtues today. However, until recently, the materials required to help deliver this ambition have been missing in Britain.

The Knightly Virtues Programme, devised by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, aims to help solve this challenge. The programme, designed for 9 to 11 year olds, draws on selected classic stories to help teach moral character in schools.

This approach has proved to be popular with children and teachers, with more than 5,000 pupils from one hundred schools having participated in the programme so far. Fifty-five of these schools (including thirty Catholic and Church of England) and 3,272 pupils (1,517 of which attended a faith school) were directly involved in different stages of the research.

This report from the Centre into the use of classic literature within schools sets out the ways in which the Knightly Virtues Programme is able to develop the virtue literacy of school pupils, and the extent to which an understanding and awareness of good moral character can make positive changes to behaviour.

The impact of the Programme has been tested using several rigorous research methods detailed in this report alongside their findings, which provide substantial empirical evidence for the effectiveness of using stories to develop virtue literacy.

The findings specifically highlighted that the Knightly Virtues Programme:

  • Significantly increases pupils’ ability to apply virtue language and concepts in personal contexts

  • Improves the behaviour of certain pupils, as observed by parents, teachers and the participants themselves

  • Closes the gap between pupils in faith and non-faith schools in their grasp of virtue language and concepts in personal contexts.

Many schools have been so impressed with the results that they have already embedded the programme into their curriculum and whole school ethos.

In addition to outlining the nature of our research and its subsequent findings, this report concludes by setting out key recommendations for policy makers, practitioners and researchers embarking on similar programmes. These recommendations include:

  • Advocating that all primary schools ‘teach’ character education through literacy-based programmes.

  • Encouraging opportunities to involve parents in character education programmes to improve home-school partnerships on virtue development. 

  • All new character-education interventions should be rigorously evaluated using a mixture of methods to enable a better understanding of ‘what-works’.


Knightly Virtues Research Report
You can download a PDF version of the Knightly Virtues report here.
Start using the Knightly Virtues Resources

Over the past three years the Knightly Virtues has been run in more than 95 primary schools across Britain, involving over 7500 students. . The programme has proved to be immensely popular and every week more schools are signing up to take part.

This educational programme seeks to provide nine to eleven year olds with the chance to creatively explore great stories of knights and heroes and the virtues to which they aspired. Drawing from timeless historical and literary narratives this program of five lessons is tailored towards encouraging pupils to enjoy reading about inspiring people, whilst helping them to consider their own virtues of character. The teaching programme is organised around the following classic stories; the King Arthur legends, Don Quixote, El Cid and the Merchant of Venice. The hypothesis is that the traditional chivalric ideals of knighthood provided a particularly noble and exalted distillation of moral ideals that are no less educationally and otherwise relevant to today than they were at the time of their conception.

The narratives were selected to represent both male and female heroes and heroines, and those that represented different traditions and faiths. Each of the narratives have been rewritten to fit with the programme and to be suitable for the young audience.

Download the Knightly Virtues Materials by clicking on the shields or links below. To request free hard copy materials, please contact Jenny Higgins.

 


   

   


 
 Additional Resource: Rosa Parks
1534kb
 Short Form Stories
342kb

Full Student Journal
2831kb
 
Teachers' Notes
9612kb

Trial Materials

Explore the Trial Materials below

 
 Reading Booklet A
664kb
 Reading Booklet B
1432kb

Answer Booklet A
423kb
 
Answer Booklet B
431kb
Marking Guide 270kb
 
 Marking Sheet
 200kb

 Knightly Virtues Pilot Documentary.