Character Education is the wider personal development of each child beyond the academic education they receive in school.
In St. Joseph's we believe that by exposing children to Character Education provides a natural foundation in understanding key virtues that build character. By understanding each characteristic and becoming familiar with their names, e.g. Resilience, children learn to identify why they are being encouraged to behave in a certain way. The consistent reinforcement and practice of these virtues in our school or at home then naturally instills life-long positive character traits.
What is Character Education?
Character is a set of personal traits or dispositions that produce specific moral emotions, inform motivation, and guide conduct. Character education includes all explicit and implicit educational activities that help our children to develop positive personal strengths called virtues.
Character education is more than just a subject. It has a place in the culture and functions of families, classrooms, schools, and other institutions. Character education is about helping our children grasp what is ethically important in situations and how to act for the right reasons, so that they become more autonomous and reflective in the practice of virtue. Pupils need to decide wisely about the kind of person they wish to become and need to learn to choose between already existing options or to find new ones. In this process, the ultimate aim of character education is the development of good sense, or practical wisdom; the capacity to choose intelligently between alternatives. This capacity involves knowing how to choose the right course of action in difficult situations; it develops gradually out of the experience of making choices and the growth of ethical insight.
The Building Blocks of Character
How we develop Character Education
In St. Joseph's Character is:
Through our positive school community, the formation of strong relationships and our clear ethos, mission and vision. What this looks like in our school:
- defined priority virtues and values
- strong role modelling
- living out The St. Joseph's Way each day and our Mission Statement
- a cared for, safe and well-designed school environment
- collaborative and supportive learning environment
- positive SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) environment
- a shared language of character
- positive relationships within the whole school community
It is taught in St. Joseph's through our curriculum across all subjects, using teaching and learning strategies, activities and resources.
For example, in Maths, we can teach the virtues of Resilience and Perseverance when encouraging children not to give up and keep going when a problem is challenging.
Character is sought in St. Joseph's through our chosen experiences that occur within and outside of the formal curriculum.
For example, our Pupil Leadership Roles, extra-curricular activities, the residential trips that we organise and school led social and community action that our children take part in.
Practical Wisdom is ultimately the end goal. It is the integrative virtue, developed through experience and critical reflection, which enables us to perceive, know, desire and act with good sense. This includes discerning, deliberative action in situations where virtues collide. Where virtues collide practical wisdom will help our children make better decisions and become Global Citizens ready for the next stage of their lives.