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Character, Culture & Values Conference Companion

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Table of Contents

Welcome 4 Gary Walsh - Character Scotland 4

John Allan & Margaret Tierney - SQA

Articles from Keynote Speakers


Marvin Berkowitz 7 Avis Glaze 9

Key Reading for the Conference

Dr Alan Britton - Briefing Note on Education for Citizenship in Scotland



Dr James MacAllister – Macmurray on Learning to be Human


Tila Morris – The Radical Road


Other Reading



Colin Mair - “Values and Character in Education” A Review of the Character Scotland/SELMAS Seminar at the University of Strathyclyde 24 Alistair Carter and Dr. Pete Allison – Sailing into Character 26 Nicola Gibson – Why is Intellect not enough to ensure Success?


Dr. Esther McIntosh – Building Schools of Character: Learning to be Human



Introduction to Scottish Education:

Historic Aspirations for Character and Values Education By Gary Walsh, Executive Officer, Character Scotland.

Scotland has a long history with character and values going back to the Scottish Enlightenment. Robert Owen founded the Institute for the Formation of Character[1] at New Lanark in 1816. The country’s history in education is tied to its culture and underpinning values. Scotland’s traditional aspirations relate to social reform, justice and a shared determination to address broad and general questions relating to philosophy, ethics and economics. Notable Scottish thinkers in these areas include Adam Smith, David Hume, Robert Owen, John MacMurray and Alasdair MacIntyre among others. Character and values education are not new ideas, and their renewed focus is a natural extension of Scotland’s educational history. The influential 1947 report from the Advisory Council on Education in Scotland[2] states: “Our real wealth is in the character and skill of our people... The secondary school... should provide a rich social environment where the adolescent grows in character and understanding through the interplay of personalities rather than by the imparting of knowledge…”

In the book entitled Pioneering Moral Education,[3] Dr William Gatherer provides a critical assessment of 20th Century approaches to moral education led by the Scottish philanthropist Victor Cook, leading to the establishment of the Gordon Cook Foundation. This book, possibly the only publication in existence that details a specifically Scottish approach to character education, delivers 4 CONFERENCE COMPANION

an honest portrayal of the difficulties and failures experienced by Cook in his mission to establish a place for moral education, while at the same time describing how his work represented “… the establishment of moral education in schools throughout the world.” Today, there are many indications that character education is central to Scotland’s education system. The Curriculum for Excellence[4] (CfE) is based on a construct of the student and, indeed, the citizens we want to develop through education in Scotland. The Teaching Scotland’s Future[5] report points to the need to recognise and support the development of the necessary attributes, skills and leadership capacities of Scotland’s teachers. The Standards for Registration[6] for teachers in Scotland make important moves in this direction by recognising the centrality of professional values in teaching, namely those of social justice, integrity, trust, respect and professional commitment. It seems clear that education in Scotland is fundamentally about people and how we work and learn together. Many countries around the world are currently implementing explicit character education curricula and the OECD has recognised the centrality of social and emotional skills in achieving social progress[7]. These developments all indicate an increased focus on the field of character education in Scotland and further afield.


Scotland’s ambitions for its education system are to move ‘from good to great’[8] and it is within this context that Character Scotland seeks to

have an impact: supporting Scotland to become a world leader in character, values and citizenship education.

The team at Character Scotland receiving Investors in Young People (IIYP) Accreditation, the first 3rd sector organisation in Scotland to do so.

References Donnachie, I. (2003) Education in Robert Owen’s New Society: The New Lanark Institute and Schools, the encyclopedia of informal education,


Advisory Council on Education in Scotland (1947) Secondary Education. Edinburgh: HMSO.


Gatherer, W.A. (2004) Pioneering Moral Education: Victor Cook and his Foundation, Edinburgh University Press.


[4] Scottish Executive (2004) A Curriculum for Excellence: The Curriculum Review Group

Scottish Government (2010) Teaching Scotland’s Future - Report of a review of teacher education in Scotland


[6] General Teaching Council for Scotland (2012) The Standards for Registration

OECD (2015) Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills


Education Scotland (2013) Transforming lives through learning: Corporate Plan 2013-2016




Character Assessment and Certification Margaret Tierney & John Allan Policy Managers, Scottish Qualifications Authority Although SQA1’s primary purpose is to recognise and certificate skills and knowledge, we are also concerned with the development of values. The kinds of values at the heart of the work we do include trust, honesty, integrity and fairness. At the Character Scotland Conference, SQA will be exploring big themes at its seminar and will be asking – ‘how can we agree the character traits and how can we best assess them and certificate them?’

focus on subject-specific skills and generic skills, like higher order thinking skills. Included in our qualifications are many subskills that are highly relevant to the development, recognition and assessment of character and values. For example,

• Health & Wellbeing – Emotional wellbeing -

Emotional wellbeing includes taking responsibility for yourself (eg following your dreams, being curious, leading a good life) and being aware of the impact your behaviour may have on others.

While individual subjects and subject knowledge continues to be important (Young, 2014) teaching, learning and assessment are concerned also with human values, which remind us of the central purposes of education.

• Employability, Enterprise & Citizenship –

How does this play out today and for tomorrow, given the speed of changes to our knowledge, particularly in the sciences, but more generally? Our world is full of ambiguity, volatility, complexity and uncertainty (Trilling and Fadel, 2014). The 2013 Oxford Martin survey estimates that by 2034 around half of current jobs will be automatable.

• Employability,

In this future, traditional ‘subject-with-vocational-skills’ based systems of education might not work so well. So - what should we teach and assess? What is worth knowing? What is the role of qualifications in all of this, given that character, culture and values are not easily assessed? The answer might not be ‘above 50% of the total marks available’. The challenges of the world that people are emerging into and how prepared they are for their next steps in life are very much at the heart of Curriculum for Excellence and Developing the Young Workforce. While knowledge is still important, there is already a greater emphasis on skills development inside breadth, depth and application. While recognising that the half-life of knowledge is shortening, there has been a need for a redressing of the balance between knowledge, understanding and skills, with a greater

Employability - Employability is the ability to gain employment by developing the personal qualities, skills, knowledge, understanding, and attitudes required in rapidly changing economic environments. Enterprise & Citizenship – Citizenship - Citizenship includes having concern for the environment and for others; being aware of rights and responsibilities; being aware of the democratic society; being outward looking towards society.

It is these subskills, embedded into SQA qualifications, which will help equip learners to take their place in modern society and enable Scotland to compete in a continually changing global economy. But will this be enough? We look forward to continuing the debate and hearing your views. •

Find out more about SQA’s Skills for Learning, Life and Work Framework:

For further exploration of uncertain futures see SQA’s seminars with Sugata Mitra and Donald Clark and many more at:

1 As Scotland’s national awarding body, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is committed to providing learners and education and training professionals with the pathways that support meaningful progression routes through education and training – and which sustain lifelong learning.

SQA has delivered a suite of new qualifications and assessment methods to support Scotland’s new holistic system of learning, teaching and assessment through Curriculum for Excellence and the reforms to vocational education. These new qualifications have been designed to be as accessible and as inclusive as possible.



Marvin Berkowitz Article from our Keynote Speaker

When I was a Consultant to the Gordon Cook Foundation in 1995, I was barely using the term “character” and was still using it much more than all of the educators in Scotland. Back then, the term du jour was “values.” In fact, one of the more parochial debates at that time in Scotland was over a two letter preposition; i.e., should this field be under the rubric of “values education” or “values in education.” As I wrote a few pieces for and about my Scottish experience, I addressed the problem of terminology, noting that the US scene was then at a crossroads between moral, values and character education, with some of the issues being substantive and some being purely semantic. In fact, in a monograph I wrote for the Gordon Cook Foundation, I even invoked the Tower of Babel as a metaphor for the time. Sadly, we have not resolved this issue in the past two decades. In the US we are now witnessing culture wars between character education, social emotional learning, positive psychology, moral education, and others. Here in the UK, Character Scotland is carrying the flag for character education, while the Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham is attempting to navigate the juncture of virtues and character, and others are first grappling with these less familiar terms. Being outside the UK debate, I am not sure if values education is still breathing here nor what other terms are fighting for air. Regardless of which terms are in the mix currently in the UK, I still rely on the conclusion I have reached in 4 decades of

this work; namely, that there is no solution to the Tower of Babel problem. Educating youth to be ethical people is a polarizing proposition. It is almost like a projective test; that is, people project their fears onto it. If you are afraid of the political left, then you see it as an attempt to promote a liberal agenda. If you are afraid of the Christian right, then you see it as a way to sneak religious indoctrination into schools. If you are a libertarian, then you see it as state conspiracy to control your children. And so on. And it can be all of those things. Or none of them, especially when done thoughtfully. So here is what I think it is, whatever label you prefer to put on it. First, it is unavoidable; it is inevitable.

Aristotle noted 2000 years ago that all adults impact the character of youth, whether they intend it or not. Schools cannot avoid character education. Second, it is necessary, indeed critical. No society can survive if it avoids the task of socializing each subsequent generation to effectively shepherd the world they are bequeathed by the preceding generation. Third, it is about helping our children become the best people they can be. Hal Urban, author of Lessons from the Classroom, calls it “bringing out the best in children.” I see it as helping them flourish and become effective moral agents who will be positioned to heal the world. Any reasonable person wants to CONFERENCE COMPANION 7


live in a world that is safe, ethical, and caring. The only way to build such a world is to build safe, ethical and caring people…one child at a time. All institutions that impact children, just as Aristotle taught us, are part of that process. That is the “why.” What about the “how”? We now have a substantial body of research, both about character development from social science and about character education from educational research; research that helps us identify best practices that are evidence-based. I have reviewed this research numerous times, first in a project called “What Works in Character Education.” In doing this we have generated a list of classroom and school practices that have been shown to foster the development of character. It is too long and technical for this short paper, but I will offer a broader model I call PRIME, which represents 5 big ideas about effective character education; 5 fundamental pillars upon which good education and character development must rest. The P in PRIME stands for Prioritization. Character education must be an authentic priority for at least the school, but ideally the region and even the nation. The R stands for Relationships. The formation of healthy relationships among all stakeholders in the school (e.g., students, educators, support staff, parents) must be strategic and intentionally built into schools’ policies and practices. The I 8 CONFERENCE COMPANION

stands for Intrinsic. We must resist the mania to control children by extrinsic rewards and public recognition. The goal is for them to internalize values and not do certain behaviors only because there is some external payoff. The M is for Modelling. None of this is likely to be effective if the educational institutions and the adults that populate them do not “walk the talk.” And the E is for Empowerment. Scotland, the UK and the USA are democracies, yet our schools are run as authoritarian institutions which utterly disempower not only the students but also the staff.

Aristotle noted 2000 years ago that all adults impact the character of youth, whether they intend it or not. Schools cannot avoid character education. I am thrilled that character is now a hot topic in Scotland and more broadly in the UK. I am likewise heartened by the birth of Character Scotland to help lead the way for character education to flourish. And I am honored to be asked to help kick off this endeavor. And to come back to Scotland, a country I learned to love when given the precious opportunity to live here two decades ago.


Avis Glaze Article from our Keynote Speaker

I was very pleased to learn of the conference being organized by Character Scotland this summer. As we strive to make society more peaceable and just, this conference is very timely and most relevant. Through character education and the initiatives of Character Scotland and its partners, I am sure that Scotland will fully realize its potential to be one of the most just, caring, prosperous and productive countries in the world. As I reflected on the conference and the future of Scotland, a country that I love and admire, Gary Mark’s 21 trends came to mind. These trends are well researched and offer guide-posts for our work in education and society. They range from the challenges and opportunities of increasing diversity and the demographics of aging populations in developed nations, to our search for personal meaning and work life balance. These trends address the impact of the ubiquitous use of interactive technologies, the need to develop new sources of affordable energy and the growing pressure to ensure world-wide environmental sustainability and security. They also highlight the significance of issues related to ethics and human identity. As we prepare students for their futures, as uncertain as they may be, it is important, I believe, for educators to incorporate these insights into the decisions they make about students and their futures. In this brief paper I have selected just two of Gary Marx’s 21 trends that I think

countries in general and politicians, policy makers, researchers, educators, community leaders and parents in particular– should incorporate in their discussion about what education should look like in the future. Over the years countries across the globe have taken curriculum review, development and implementation very seriously, but education is more that academic content. There are certain attitudes, values, dispositions and behaviours that we should also nurture and develop. Education has to be holistic in its content and approach, addressing hearts as well as minds. Therefore, the two trends I have chosen to explore here relate to issues of human behaviour in societies of the future. Trend number one addresses the issue of diversity. It states:

“In a series of tipping points, majorities will become minorities, creating ongoing challenges for social cohesion.” (Marx, 2014) All across the globe we are witnessing an increase in immigration to support economic growth and development. As diversity increases, it is important to ensure that communities find common ground on the values they hold in common. When I worked in Ontario, we produced a very important document titled: Realizing CONFERENCE COMPANION 9


success for students so that they can achieve their maximum potential.

the Promise of Diversity: Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools. This document sets out the vision, values and actions to support the directions we considered to be important within our increasingly diverse province. It states that we envision an equitable and inclusive education system in Ontario in which:

Ontario schools are now implementing this strategy, paying assiduous attention to the equity actions which were to be phased in over four years.

• All students, parents and other members of the school community are welcomed and respected.

Trend number two addresses the issue of ethics. It states:

• Every student is supported and inspired to succeed in a culture of high expectations for learning. The vision and action plan outlined in this document is a reflection of Ontario’s government’s goal to create the best publiclyfunded education system in the world based on three core priorities: • High levels of student achievement • Reduced gaps in student achievement • Increased public confidence in publicly funded education. • (Ontario has since added the issue of student wellbeing as a 4th priority area.) The province’s stance is unequivocal in stating that Ontario’s diversity can be its greatest asset. It posits that, to realize the promise of diversity, it is necessary to respect and value the full range of our differences and that what is most important is the need to provide a high-quality education system for all students as a key means of fostering social cohesion, among other goals. By holding to the essential principles of fairness, equity and respect, Ontario seeks to ensure that all students have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. The strategy draws heavily upon the Ontario Human Rights Code which forbids discrimination based on grounds such as race, gender, religion and disability, and acknowledges that these grounds can intersect in one individual creating additional biases or barriers for that individual to overcome. Ontario schools are required to remove these barriers to


“Scientific discoveries and societal realities will force widespread ethical choices.” (Marx, 2014)

As I grow older, I have become increasingly reflective about scientific advancements and the need for students to have the knowledge and skills to make ethical decisions on the issues that will, inevitably, have an impact on our lives. These scientific breakthroughs will become more pervasive in our society as scientists push the boundaries of research and innovation. These include, but are not limited to: human and animal cloning, stem cell research, nanotechnology, genetic engineering, eugenics, artificial human organs, medical research using fetal tissue, chemical and biological weapons and building bigger and stronger bombs. Some of the questions that we should all contemplate are:

On what basis will our students make decisions today about these issues or the roles that they will play in society? What values will guide their decisions? Who is teaching these values today?

Can we assume and rely on the fact that they


are being taught in all schools and homes? In our diverse and pluralistic society, whose values are being taught? Are we in agreement on these values? Have we put in place strategies to build consensus and to find common ground on our values within the context of our increasing diversity? Are attributes such as empathy, respect for self, others, the planet and human rights being nurtured in an intentional manner in our schools, homes and places of worship? I am equally concerned about the issue of how we will all ensure that democracy is preserved and nurtured by subsequent generations. Sustaining our democratic system of government is something that I have never taken for granted. Throughout my years in education I have reflected on what it means to live in a democratic society. As a teacher, I have always felt that the school has a major role to play in sustaining democracy and ensuring that it prevails. In that regard, we must also ask ourselves: How will we ensure that democracy is replicated, and that subsequent generations will develop the respect for and commitment to the values that accompany this form of government? To my mind, character development programs in our schools have a role to play in nurturing the values that address these concerns. The implementation of these programs must, of necessity, be developed with parental support and arrived at through consultation with the widest possible cross-section of our communities. All groups, including elected officials, parents, students, religious leaders, teachers, principals and policy makers, must have a say in the identification of the attributes that make up these character education programs. Through discussion and dialogue, we can engage in the process of finding common ground and developing a shared singularity of purpose and mission. The process of finding common ground also creates opportunities for teachers to engage students in discussing some of the ethical and moral dilemmas that they confront in their lives. Engaging students in this way also helps them develop decision-making and other life skills

which will serve them well in their future lives and solidify our efforts to nurture democratic principles. Many schools spend a lot of time nurturing respect for the environment; we encourage them to redouble their efforts in addressing issues such as respect for human rights with the intensity and seriousness with which they have addressed environmental issues. Many years ago, when I served in the York Region District School Board, and later in Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board in Ontario, Canada, we initiated character programs with strong community support. These programs are now evident in many Ontario schools. We developed the Ministry of Education document, Finding Common Ground: Character Education in Ontario Schools to serve as a framework and catalyst for the implementation of this province-wide strategy. An article which I wrote a few years ago, Character Development: Education at its Best (2011), describes the process used to implement character development programs in Ontario schools. We also documented many stories from schools as they implemented these strategies. Principals and teachers reported that they saw marked differences in discipline and interpersonal relationships. They also reported that student achievement improved because teachers spent less time dealing with behavior issues and more time on teaching. As Marvin Berkowitz, a colleague and leader in character education, states: “Schools simply have to contribute to the formation of civic character if the nation is to survive... Finally, good character education is good education. In fact, recent findings show that effective character education supports and enhances the academic goals of schools; in short, good character education also promotes learning.� (Berkowitz, 2005)



In summary, I would like to encourage all who work with students to rekindle and keep alive their motivation to develop strong academic skills as they nurture qualities such as kindness and empathy, and other qualities that reflect our common humanity. As educators we are engaged in the noblest of professions. We have the ability to encourage enthusiasm for learning and to inspire hope and optimism each day we enter our schools and classrooms. Let us never doubt the fact that we do important work and as long as there are children to educate, we cannot afford to become cynical or dispirited. We are engaged in an epic quest to prepare students to become individuals who will raise their communities and, indeed, their country to higher levels of caring, compassion and concern. Educators today certainly have an indomitable spirit and an unrelenting resolve to educate hearts and minds successfully. We undoubtedly have the will and the skills to prepare students to take their place in nation building. This conference offered by Character Scotland will certainly provide new insights in furthering this cause.


References Berkowitz, M. W., &Bier, M. C. (2005). What works in character education: A research-driven guide for educators. Washington, DC: Character Education Partnership. Glaze, Avis. (2011). Character development: Education at its best. ASCD Manitoba Journal Reflections, Volume 11, Summer 2011. Marx, G. (2014) Twenty-one trends for the 21st century... Out of the trenches...and into the future. Education Week Press/Editorial Projects in Education, Bethesda, MD. Marx, Gary (2014). Sneak peek: Twenty-one trends for the 21st Century, Ministry of Education. (2011). Finding common ground: Character development in Ontario schools. Queen’s Printer for Ontario. Ministry of Education. (2009) Equity and Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools: Guidelines for Policy Development and Implementation. Realizing the Promise of Diversity, Queen’s Printer for Ontario.


Briefing Note on Education for Citizenship in Scotland by Dr Alan Britton, University of Glasgow

What is the Scottish conception of Education for Citizenship? The LTS Documents (2000 & 2002) began by noting that the advent of the first democratic Scottish Parliament came at a time when there was “growing scepticism about traditional structures of representative democracy and the forms of political activity, such as trade union membership and political party membership, traditionally associated with them.” They also pointed towards a “growing concern to work towards a more inclusive society where inequalities are addressed effectively and cultural and community diversity is celebrated. Ways and means are being sought to tackle disaffection and disengagement from society and, more broadly, to address issues of social injustice and of personal identity.” The documents then placed these issues within a context of a “rapidly changing wider world.” This related to issues such as the growing influence of the European Union, the forces of globalisation, the growth in information and communications technologies (ICT), the power of multinational corporations, and growing inequalities between rich and poor. Both the Crick Report and the LTS documents referred to the apparent paradox that, at a time of young people’s disengagement with mainstream party politics, there was a growing interest in single-issue campaigns and pressure groups. However, there was some evident divergence between Crick’s “need and aims” for citizenship, where there was no mention of inequalities in society, or of concepts

1999: Establishment of the Scottish Parliament. Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education (HMIE) Audit Unit developed a framework for Schools’ Self-Evaluation in Citizenship. 2000: Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) publish Education for Citizenship: A Paper for Discussion and Consultation. National Priorities in Scottish Education published.

2002: Citizenship Education introduced in English schools as statutory subject. LTS publish Education for Citizenship: A Paper for Discussion and Development

2003: OFSTED in English publish inspection report which deems citizenship education “unsatisfactory.” Scotland HMIE publish How Good is our SchoolCitizenship, offering self-evaluation tools for schools 2004: Curriculum Review Group publish A Curriculum for Excellence, (CfE) one of four capacities for all learners is “Responsible Citizenship.”

2004-2012: This period focused on the development of CfE, Education for Citizenship (EfC) had been taken on many schools.

2012: Scottish Government group working on One Planet Schools/Learning for Sustainability produce report making commitment to entitlement to citizenship education in Scotland.

2015: Initiation of policy developments around “Political Literacy” led by Education Scotland



such as ‘social injustice’, whereas these are prominent in the LTS documents. This might reflect the apparent divergence between the Scottish political, civic and ideological realm from the rest of the UK, although this view is hotly contested.

“insufficiency entails non-necessity.” (Frazer, 2004), as there is currently no guaranteed provision of political literacy in the Scottish curriculum framework beyond the ‘Experiences and Outcomes’ for CfE, mainly relating to People in Society, Economy and Business from the ages of 3 to around 15.

The Crick Report was more forthright with regard to strictly ‘political’ concerns (including declining A recent HMIE led review of Social Studies political interest, political ‘illiteracy’, and low provision in Scottish schools noted that: voter turnout among young people) than the comparable Scottish account. Crick promoted “There are issues around breadth of coverage the inclusion of a strong element of explicitly in relation to ‘people in society, business political education in the English citizenship and economy’ which is affecting learners’ framework, having lobbied for such an outcome development of political literacy skills [...] In with little success for many years before. The secondary schools factors include the lack problem of political illiteracy in the Scottish of clarity as to the contribution of business documentation was less clearly articulated education staff and, than in Crick, as was the proposed solution to this problem. While the 2002 LTS document in around 20% of schools, no modern noted the “growing scepticism about traditional studies specialist.” structures of representative democracy and the forms of political activity, such as trade union membership and political party membership, traditionally associated with them”, the related HMIE Social Studies 3-18 Curriculum Impact recommendation was that “capability for Study (2013) . citizenship, as envisaged here, also includes ideas about ‘political literacy’.” (LTS 2002). The apparent discomfiture around the status of ‘political literacy’ in Scotland seems to relate, at This formulation from the original LTS least in part, to political sensitivities around the documentation, that status of Modern Studies, a subject which has provided many of the features of political literacy political literacy is insufficient on its own to (and indeed some other aspects of education for citizenship) for more than forty years in Scottish engender effective citizenship, schools, although there is still a large number of schools where it is unavailable or where there is only limited and non-specialist provision. has resurfaced in more recent documentation (including a Briefing Note on Political Literacy by On the other hand, Modern Studies, with its Education Scotland). However, as Frazer has particular emphasis on certain study themes pointed out, the conclusion seems to be that that are assessed through the relevant national



qualifications, is unlikely to be able to provide the full spectrum of knowledge, skills, values and experiences that are required for a fully rounded citizenship education. Indeed in the context of the recent Independence Referendum, in which 16 and 17 year olds were given the right to vote, it was noted that: “Taking a “civics” type class in itself does not increase political understanding in young people or their likelihood to participate in voting. The decisive factor was not whether young people had taken Modern Studies, but whether they had actively discussed the referendum in class (though in many instances Modern Studies classes could provide this space). Schools therefore need to provide the space for young people to actively discuss politics in an informed way, if we want to activate young people’s political interest not only in relation to issue-based, but also representative politics.” (Eichhorn et al, 2014). Another factor that might be in play to explain the reticence about political literacy as a core (and non-negotiable) component of citizenship education is highlighted by Biesta (2008). He suggested that in essence there were 4 recurring themes in the 2002 LTS document that conceptualised citizenship as being related to: •


A broad conception of the domain of citizenship (social and/or political);

An emphasis on activity (‘Good deeds citizenship’);

A focus on Community.

He detected only very limited acknowledgement of the structural dimensions to citizenship, which might require a harder edged focus on matters of power, ideology and the party political sphere. The Character Scotland Conference takes place at an opportune moment in Scotland. In the post-Referendum landscape, there is a renewed focus on the possibility of sustainable democratic renewal founded on the elevated participation rates in the vote, and the involvement of young people (almost certainly to be extended to future Scottish Parliament elections at least). The

wheels have also been set in motion around the idea of an entitlement to political literacy for Scotland’s young people. As noted above, merely teaching about political processes will not on its own guarantee greater engagement with those processes;

any renewed focus on political literacy must acknowledge, articulate and promote a broader understanding of citizenship that encompasses a range of essential dimensions.

References Advisory Group on Citizenship (1998) Education for citizenship and the teaching of democracy in schools [The Crick Report]. Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, London. Biesta, G. (2008). ‘What kind of citizen? What kind of democracy? Citizenship education and the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence’. In Scottish Educational Review, 40 (20, pp38-52. Education Scotland (2013). CfE Briefing Number 14 Curriculum for Excellence: Political Literacy. Glasgow, Education Scotland. Eichhorn, J., Heyer, A. & Huebner, C. (2014). Who influences the formation of political attitudes and decisions in young people? Evidence from the referendum on Scottish independence. Available at: Paper%20%20 Young%20People%20%26%20 Scottish%20Indy%20Ref.pdf Frazer, E. (2003) ‘Citizenship Education: Anti-political Culture and Political Education in Britain’, in Lockyer, Crick, Annette (eds.) Education for Democratic Citizenship. Issues of Theory and Practice, Ashgate. HMIE (2013) Social Studies 3-18 Curriculum Impact Study. Glasgow, HMIE. Learning and Teaching Scotland (2000) Education for Citizenship - A Paper for Discussion and Consultation, Dundee: Learning and Teaching Scotland. Learning and Teaching Scotland (2002) Education for Citizenship - A Paper for Discussion and Development, Dundee: Learning and Teaching Scotland.



Macmurray on “Learning to Be Human” by Dr James MacAllister, University of Stirling

In this brief paper I will firstly consider some of John Macmurray’s philosophical preoccupations before going on to chart his views on education. John Macmurray was a Scottish born philosopher who spent most of his life living and working in the UK. His academic career spanned much of the twentieth century from the late 1920’s until the 1970’s. Though based in Britain, his work probably had more in common with continental philosophical trends than the analytic tradition that generally dominated British philosophy in the middle of the twentieth century. In his philosophy he was, perhaps more than anything, concerned with addressing the question of what it means to be a human person. Macmurray sought to distinguish personal life from both individual life on the one hand, and social life on the other. Macmurray felt that the tendency to contrast individual and social life was a misleading and unhelpful one. He argued that the personal sphere does not refer to our individual wants and desires at all - it is rather composed of relations between people. However, Macmurray was also adamant that the sets of human relations that characterise personal life are very different from, and much richer than, merely social relations. This is so social relationships presuppose, as a matter of fact, a degree of impersonality (Macmurray, 1961). Social life for Macmurray frequently depended upon people involving themselves in impersonal relations with others - impersonal as persons enter into such relations not with the whole 16 CONFERENCE COMPANION

of themselves but only with part of themselves. However, just because we cannot always express the whole of our personhood in all of our interactions with others, does not mean that we can only be ourselves when we are alone - far from it. Indeed, in Persons in Relation he argues that there can be no person whatsoever, without two persons in communication. Thus personal life can be distinguished from individual life on account of the fact that we need the presence of others (albeit in a particular way) to be persons at all. Importantly, personal life can also be differentiated from social life on account of the onus personal relations place upon us to express our whole selves to others, as opposed to only parts of ourselves (as is required in merely social relations). The personal life not only requires a full expression of who we are to others, it also necessitates a loving acceptance of others when they express the whole of themselves to us. Macmurray allots a name for such open, expressive and accepting relations between persons friendship. Macmurray specifies that the sorts of friendships that make up personal life have no ulterior motive beyond the personal interaction itself. He explains that there are two opposing varieties of relations with others: functional relations where we fraternize with others merely to achieve some other purpose, and personal relations, which we enter into without extrinsic purpose.


Personal relations come to exist for their own sake and for the sake of our friends, rather than our selves. It is not a genuine friendship and personal relation if two persons only relate with each other merely to get something else out of it (Macmurray, 1961) - such associations are functional as the purpose of the relation is determined by a function external to it. Real friendships in contrast have no external function. They are instead founded upon a motive of love for the other and a desire to get to know the other person better and see them flourish in the world more. While Macmurray did not dispute that a prosperous society in part depends upon functional relations, he emphasises that the value of functional interactions should be measured by the extent to which they further distinctively personal relations. For Macmurray both individual and social life should be subordinate to, and for the sake of, personal life. Indeed, all human association ‘has only one meaning... it is the necessary foundation on which the personal life can be built. Society exists for the life of personal friendship’ (ibid, p 102). Macmurray goes as far to suggest that all of morality depends upon our capacity to prioritise personal over functional relations (1961) while in both the Self as Agent and Persons in Relation, Macmurray explicitly argues that all human knowledge and action should be for the sake of friendship. The distinctively personal life is therefore one where the establishment and maintenance of fully expressive and accepting friendships takes precedence over all other

priorities and where all feeling, thought and action must ultimately nurture and sustain such friendships. Indeed, I think that this is the first and fundamental principle of Macmurray’s philosophy. This view of personhood carries with it significant educational implications - implications which Macmurray himself explored in his lecture on Learning to be Human. There, Macmurray asserts that ‘the first priority in education – if by education we mean learning to be human – is learning to live in personal relation with other people…I call this the first priority because failure in this is fundamental failure, which cannot be compensated for by success in other fields’ (Macmurray 2012, p 670). Macmurray suggests that people first live as individuals rather than as persons. Individuals are characterized by a dependence on others and by egocentricity. In contrast, persons are characterized by their capacity to live in interdependent relation with others.

Fostering personal relationships should be the primary task of education for Macmurray because it is through such relations that persons can successfully overcome the human predilection to egocentricity. Macmurray felt that education fails when persons take CONFERENCE COMPANION 17


their own feelings and interests to be more important than those of others. He also maintained that emotion education holds the key to educational success and to the transcending of the human tendency towards dependence and Egocentricity. Indeed, an enhanced concentration on the education of bodily sensibility is the second educational priority specified by MacMurray (2012, p 671). Macmurray maintained that our bodily senses (rather than our minds), are the gateway to the world outside of us - they are the primary source of all knowledge (1956, 1961 & 2012). He indicates that persons can gain knowledge through their senses in two ways. On the one hand human senses can be used as instruments to provide facts about the world, which can in turn be used to solve practical and instrumental problems. Here our senses are used in a thin and functional way. On the other hand persons can live in their senses, by construing their sensory experiences not as means to practical ends and problem resolution, but rather as ends in themselves. Here our senses are not so much used but lived in a personal way. Though people generally use their senses for functional reasons (Macmurray, 2012) the real value of sense experience is rather to be found within personal rather than functional life. While Macmurray thought we must live in and learn through our own bodies, he was not advocating a self-absorbed dwelling in, and focus on, one’s own bodily feelings – such an attitude would be functional rather than personal. Bodily sense experiences only become intrinsically valuable and personal when they are contemplative and objective. Contemplative and objective sense experiences are both directed at objects or persons other than the self and concerned to apprehend more fully the value of what is other than the self. He states that ‘contemplation when it is genuine centres our attention and interest upon something outside of us, and so is a powerful counteraction to the egocentricity which keeps us juvenile and adolescent. It centres our emotional capacities upon the object in a search for its uniqueness and reality; and so provides an emotional objectivity for the apprehension of its value. So contemplation is a 18 CONFERENCE COMPANION

powerful agent for the education of the emotions’ (Macmurray, 2012, p 672). Macmurray adds that if contemplative sense experiences are not cultivated in education then ‘our emotional nature remains…crude and childish’ (ibid, p 672). He maintains that people are generally inclined to perceive the world in a self-centred and immature way where one’s own interests and desires are deemed to be more important than those of others. However, he argued that educated persons have learned to focus their sensory attention upon others in an open and accepting spirit and with a desire and capacity to act with and for the other person in a way that helps them grow. Such a way of thinking about learning to be human is very different to another influential account of this process. For example, liberal educationists such as Oakeshott (1972) and Peters (1970) stressed that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding was the main way in which persons could be supported to develop their humanity. Oakeshott says that education ‘is the transaction between the generations in which newcomers to the scene are initiated into the world in which they are to inhabit. This is a world of understandings . . . and . . . states of mind . . . To be initiated into this world is learning to become human’ (Oakeshott, 1972, pp. 47–48). In contrast to the liberal idea that education should help persons to escape the present moment via the pursuit of valued knowledge, Macmurray instead emphasized that we can only learn to become fully human by living in the present. In particular he stressed that learning to be human entails disciplining our current emotions so that the interests and desires of other persons are given as much credence and value as our own. Thus, for Macmurray, being and becoming human is not a matter of being initiated into valuable knowledge and working hard to understand that knowledge (the liberal view). Instead, it is a matter of working hard to become ever better at relating with other persons and in a spirit of other-centred friendship rather than selfserving functionality. In conclusion, Macmurray thought learning to be human entailed overcoming the propensity


toward self-absorption and self-interestedness. He maintained that such mature human personhood is attained by only a few, as it is hard and exacting. While I do think that learning to be human requires a disciplined effort to overcome self-interest, contrary to Macmurray, I do not think that this is the only way in which persons can be and become human. Indeed, Macmurray’s view of what a human person is, and how we learn to be human, is arguably limited by its anti-intellectualism. The intellect may not be the source of all that is educationally valuable but nor is it development without value. Macmurray’s philosophy can though, despite its flaws, provide

become socialised (self-oriented) rather than fully human (other oriented) persons.

His lecture on learning to be human was delivered in 1957 and is, with the benefit of hindsight, not only original but also very prescient. Macmurray

Macmurray, J. (2012) Learning to be Human, Oxford Review of Education, 38.6, pp. 661–674.

a different way of thinking about how education can enlarge human personhood.

References Macmurray, J. (1956) The Self as Agent (London, Faber and Faber). Macmurray, J. (1960) Persons in Relation (London, Faber and Faber). Macmurray, J. (1961) Reason and Emotion (London, Faber and Faber).

Oakeshott, M. (1972) Education: The Engagement and its Frustration, in: R. R. Dearden, P. H. Hirst and R. S. Peters (eds) Education and the Development of Reason (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul), pp. 19–50. Peters, R. S. (1970) [1966] Ethics and Education (London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd).

spoke eloquently of the dangers of reducing education to mere technologies of socialization. I cannot help but think that Macmurray would be dismayed at how adept todays education systems have become at helping the next generation to



The Radical Road By Tila Morris, Consultant, Catch the Light

When it comes to school we have so little to go on yet have such strong views on its effectiveness. How do we really know? Can we judge how much school influenced our character? How much of our time in school was critical to who we are now? Are there aspects of life where we are working to repair some of the negative experiences we had? Could we have achieved more or have formed better characters if we had been offered alternatives?

Why Radical Education? As youth and community development consultants at ‘Catch the Light’ my partner and I have spent many years working with young people struggling to repair the damage they feel school has caused them. One of the many privileges of working with these amazing characters is they serve as timely reminders of why we need to embrace radical education. The question is less about how we build character education into the curriculum, or embed it in the school ethos; but is more about how we empower young people to build the character virtues they need to transform their lives, regardless of their academic achievements. It includes making space to question the education system itself. Consequently this article considers whether character education can be effectively achieved without radical or transformative education as its purpose. According to the Jubilee Centre for 20 CONFERENCE COMPANION

Character and Virtues[1] character education is about learning what is ethically important in different situations. Character education is about knowing how to act for the right reasons, so that pupils in school become more autonomous and reflective, with the ultimate aim of developing ‘good sense or practical wisdom’ which is defined as ‘the capacity to choose intelligently between alternatives’. Radical education on the other hand acknowledges that compulsory education was designed with the purpose of controlling the general population to adhere to the norms of the dominant ideology in society.[2] The danger of developing the practical wisdom referred to in the definition of character education is the hegemony whereby many dominant values and beliefs which are popularly deemed as ‘good sense’ are flawed, especially in relation to our education. Dominant beliefs include for example the idea that all children should dress the same when going to school or that children will form good characters by going to school, regardless of whether character education is an intended part of the curriculum or not. There is a long established list of authors advocating for a more radical reform of compulsory education such as Paulo Freire, Antonio Gramsci, Ivan Illich, John Mezirow and Stephen Brookfield to name but a few. The common theme which binds them is that school systems as we currently know them, are not working.


The Problem with Schools Over a century ago, Dewey[3] observed that schools tend to create a false reality which emphasises character traits that have no other purpose than to serve the school system. This can result in negative characters being nurtured through school such as: individualistic motives, avoiding violation of the rules, fear of failure, or competition and rivalry between peers. Framing the argument in a more modern context Illich[4] argued that the institutionalisation of values leads to ‘global degradation and modern misery’ which permeates all parts of our lives and has to be challenged. To share a topical example Radio Scotland[5] recently aired an interview with a young woman in Glasgow that has benefited from the city hosting the Commonwealth Games. She admitted that from the age of 11 she regularly truanted from school and stopped attending altogether by the age of 15 because she “totally hated it”. While at school she lost her Mum and struggled to cope. Through her involvement in various youth activities she managed to turn things around. She joined a ‘Street League’ programme where she gained 10 qualifications, secured a job working in the new Velodrome and was selected to meet the Queen. Unlike the approach she experienced in school she found her experience in ‘Street League’ was more relaxed, she didn’t have constant studying, she wasn’t treated like a child and importantly she didn’t have to put her hand up to ask permission to go to the toilet. In Catch the Light we find young people’s alienation from school is greatest when, like in the radio interview, it does little to recognise the character and virtues young people bring into the school. Dewey referred to this as a loss of moral power caused by everything in school being built on the premise of an elusive future. Today the

promise of a good job or a place in university is akin to trying to persuade teenagers to believe in Santa Clause long after they have discovered the truth. More beneficial is recognising that young people have real lives outside the classroom which for some includes living with parents battling addictions, surviving on a low income, witnessing domestic violence, or acting as the main carers of family members with life limiting illnesses. For them moral power is lost when school imposes unnecessary and demeaning moral habits which have no usefulness after the bell rings. Through focussing relentlessly on the character traits required to pass exams, schools fail to teach the virtues needed most in those circumstances – empathy that leads to compassion. It is not only exceptional circumstances that test the role of schools in character education. The enormity of the challenge is made clear when employers consistently report on the growing problem of young people lacking the skills or virtues required in the modern workplace. [6] Meanwhile politicians and public figures make the headlines by breaking moral codes. Consequently regardless of our backgrounds, qualifications or circumstances we all need our learning experiences to be much better connected and meaningful to our daily lives, work and communities, with opportunities to critically reflect on what we do and how we do it. Furthermore we need our learning to give us the knowledge, skills and virtues to make our environment better.

The Need for Radical Education Dewey declared that the role of educators was to make the methods of learning so ‘vital’ that they become ‘moving ideas and motive forces’ that guide character formation. Radical education fundamentally encapsulates values of justice, equality and empowerment. Despondently CONFERENCE COMPANION 21


critics of the public education system in the UK declare that that the more we understand about children, knowledge and learning the more neo-liberalists reduce education to a form of pedagogy which merely transfers knowledge from the teacher to pupils, devoid of any values, ethics or democracy. Fielding and Moss[7] for example, believe education requires a radical rebirth of democracy and a renewal of its spirit. In this context democracy goes beyond formal political spheres to become part of everyday life in all social domains to influence the way we think individually and act collectively. Lister[8] summed up the common features of the radical education movement as follows: 1. Knowledge should have a social purpose aimed at improving the human condition; it should involve both understanding and action for change. 2. The curriculum should deal with major issues, e.g. war and peace, poverty and development, human rights, multicultural society, interdependent world. 3. Learning is about developing skills, not just about content. 4. In order to develop skills, learning needs an active dimension, e.g. games and role-play. 5. Education must be affective as well as cognitive; attitudes and values are as important as knowledge and facts. 6. Recognition of pluralism and diversity in own society and globally. 7. The curriculum should have an international and global perspective. 8. Education should also have a futures perspective. Hence character education and radical education are inter-dependent. The radical questions are how can character be learned without a social 22 CONFERENCE COMPANION

purpose? How can learning be implemented without democratic participation? How can it have meaning without being made relevant to young people’s different social domains? Does it challenge or conform to the dominant ideology where learning occurs? Does it make us see ourselves from different perspectives and give us new perspectives on the future? Does it equip us with the knowledge and tools to create change? The challenge for schools and teachers is how to remove the institutional barriers inherent in the system so that the school domain is not the weak link in young people’s development. However character education cannot be limited to the classroom. Shaping all of young people’s social domains into democratic spaces of knowledge exchange[9] requires many disciplines, families and citizens working together for the common good of our young people. Interpreted in the right way Curriculum for Excellence presents unprecedented opportunities to transform learning in Scotland far beyond the classroom. Across professions further hope for change in Scotland emerges in the ideological shifts in policy towards assetbased approaches which see young people as active agents in their development. Whether in schools, in youth work settings or in family work, Positive Youth Development (PYD) gives a framework for an asset based approach. It focuses on positive engagement of young people to acquire all the necessary skills, aptitudes and virtues to transition from adolescence into adulthood.[10] The evidence of its effectiveness is limited due to the lack of rigorous evaluation, however research so far shows a positive impact. A key feature of PYD is that as required in radical education the programmes strive for systems-wide as well as individual change. PYD’s key characteristics are referred to in literature as the ‘five C’s and include competence, confidence, character, connection and caring. There is some discussion that these lead to a sixth ‘C’ of contribution whereby young people come to believe they have a moral and civic duty to make a positive contribution which aids advances in their own development as well


as the development of their communities.[11] The constructs are similar to those identified in literature on character education and include for example: bonding; resilience; social competence; emotional competence; self-determination; spirituality; self efficacy and moral competence. It is possible to imagine that PYD provides ways to widely practise radical education in Scotland. Therefore when we consider character education we need to pay particular attention to its contexts and how conducive they are to positive character traits. Assumptions that lessons on character education in schools will lead to positive results are to be avoided. Most of all we must firstly consider the reality of young people’s lives and the social purpose and a process of learning that has the power to positively influence character and in time transform the lives of individuals and their wider communities. The benefit of networks like Character Scotland is the ability to form The power within us “emancipatory alliances….[offering] a values-driven solidarity and a commonality of orientation so essential to those who work and between us against the grain.”[12] My hope here is to spark debate on the best way to build character and virtues in young people. Therefore I invite you to join the alliance, continue the critical reflection on practice and nurture ideas for future action. Should you take up the invitation our shared motive is to create the space where young people’s critical consciousness can be raised and entrust our belief in the power and potential of young people to be the force of positive change in Scotland. A little support will be enough at least for me to send my son off to school optimistic about the chances of a better future and that we all give each other the encouragement we need to continue in our daily plight.

References Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues (unknown) A Framework for Character Education; University of Birmingham


Hicks, D. (2004) Radical Education; from Ward, S. ed. (2004) Education Studies: A Student Guide, Routledge Farmer


[3] Dewey, J. (1909) [Ed. Suzzallo, H., 2008] Moral Principles in Education; The Riverside Press, Cambridge Massachusettes ref=pe_385721_48721101_TE_M1T1DP [5] Listen to the interview here: b04brcn6 at roughly 6 minutes into the programme. [4]

Simon Bain (30/07/2014) Schools failing to prepare pupils for work; Herald Scotland schools-failing-to-prepare-pupils-for-work.24428991 ]


Fielding, M. and Moss, P. (2012) Radical Democratic Education; Institute of Education, University of London: UK


Lister (1987: 54-56) as cited in Hicks, D. (2004) Radical Education. In Ward, S. ed. (2004) Education Studies: A Student guide, Routledge Falmer [8]

Brookfield, S. (1995) Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher; San Francisco: Jossey-Bass


Schulman, S. and Davies, T (2007) Evidence of the Impact of the ‘Youth Development Model’ on Outcomes for Young People – A Literature Review; The National Youth Agency


Lerner, R. M, et al (2005) Positive Youth Development, Participation in Community Development Programs, and Community Contributions of Fifth-Grade Adolescents: Findings from the first was of the 4-H study of Positive Youth Development; Journal of Early Adolescence, Vo. 25 No.1: Sage Publications [11]


Fielding & Moss (2012) pp.32, ibid



Values and Character in Education A reflection on our “Questions of Character” event with SELMAS, January 2015

By Colin Mair, Chief Executive, Improvement Service

The seminar at Strathclyde University was illuminating. It established beyond doubt that nobody has the skill necessary to say anything worthwhile in seven minutes; it established that being provocative to stimulate discussion is fairly pointless if there is no time left for discussion. Most importantly for me, though, it established the importance of practice leading theory rather than theory leading practice. The details of a single school trying to take forward an agenda about values and articulacy about values struck me as invaluable in two ways. First, many of the theoretical issues about values in education emerge to be just that: theoretical. Whether values are seen in normative or utilitarian terms, as absolute or relative, becomes a matter of engagement, discussion and negotiation within the school community, not something to be resolved by experts out-with the community.

Kids and teachers can also legitimately have different perspectives on values and character. Second, if this is about how a community lives together, then building the capacity of the community to live well together is central. I liked a lot the capacity building approached adopted, particularly the focus on building articulacy and literacy around values. We can and should talk about this within schools but, as with appreciation of 24 CONFERENCE COMPANION

literature, history or science, we need to acquire languages, concepts and skills to do it well. Long before we get anywhere towards defining “character”, or towards any given set of “values”, we need to feel free to talk about such things, and learn to talk well. The example given seemed to me to have got that spot on: it was about creating the space and empowerment to talk about values without embarrassment. This takes courage on the part of the school. The moment kids are empowered and articulate they quite properly begin to notice gaps and contradictions between the stated values of their parents or school and their behaviour in practice. That can be hard to deal with but it creates value: young people need space to explore the complexities and contradictions of these routine practical contexts, and to develop the ability to reflect on why and how they best deal with them. Being part of a supportive school community at its best allows that. However, we should not be naïve about this. The whole school community, not just the young people, would have to be up for this. Young people exploring and negotiating values encountering school systems that are unreflective and inflexible about their values is unlikely to be a terribly positive experience. Equally, for school management and teachers, context is likely to matter a lot. Big schools, or classes, create the need for quite high levels of control and imposed authority. This is not the ideal context for encouraging kids to


make autonomous value choices and to develop self-control. Nor do teachers have much time to reflect on the potential ironies of this. My sense is that many of the first rate teachers I know are truly supportive of the purpose and values of “Curriculum for Excellence”. They are also very aware of the difficulties of realising these values in schools whose scale and design seem entirely uninformed by them. As importantly, schools are not the only, and not necessarily the most important, community in which pupils participate, and some pupils may not see school as a “community” at all. Pupils from disadvantaged and deprived community may quite understandably approach school with quite high levels of anxiety and suspicion: a place they “have to go” rather than a community to which they belong. Their family and home community may have developed values geared towards resilience, self-respect and survival under adverse circumstances. Some of these values, and the behavioural repertoires that go with them, may seem subversive or challenging in the school context. It is unlikely that the precise implications of Hume or Rousseau for our understanding of character is the biggest issue in their young lives. These communities do not come from nowhere. Their economic circumstances follow from decades of, often policy led, economic change; their social exclusion from cultural attitudes and stigmatisation. Convincing a child of the importance of respect, dignity and kindness will be tricky if their household benefits have just been “sanctioned” as part of welfare reform. Schools cannot, and should not be asked, to take responsibility for resolving economic and social inequality but they will have to engage with it and help pupils engage with it. Talking about values , but ignoring the wider context in which pupils lives are valued or devalued, will suppress rather than surface key issues of values that should be explored. My conclusion, insofar as it goes, is that abstract discussion of character and values needs grounded in concrete practices. I think these practices are first and foremost community building: within the school and between the school and the social communities where pupils live. Values, and what constitutes “character”, are communally evolved, not individually decided or decided by panels of jobbing philosophers.

Without schools becoming communities in a fuller sense for pupils, the exploration and negotiation of values becomes harder. That does not mean that all the control and authority structures of schools get thrown out, all communities have control and authority structures, but it does mean that why they exist, how they work and their impact within the school community is up for discussion. In that sense, the school case study we were given was as much a case of community building as values based education, or more precisely, was about values precisely because it was about community building. It was the better for recognising the skills and articulacy about values are important to allowing a community to come together. We need “value intelligence” alongside emotional intelligence for community to work well, but we need to address the capacity necessary to support schools to develop as communities, particularly our larger schools. “Community engagement” and “capacity building” are now widely adopted for work with neighbourhoods and spatial communities. Our secondary schools are often bigger communities, in terms of numbers, than the spatial communities on which we focus these efforts. Should we not focus some on these resources on developing our school communities in the same way and create a context where discussion of values is grounded in community? I can imagine that some folk will read this as idealistic nonsense, remote from the realities of financial constraints, workloads pressures and real pupils behaviour and attitudes. Maybe it is but what I took from the case study is that we need to leave cynicism at the door if we intend to address values at all. Cynicism is apathy with attitude and it is hard to see why we would not a least try to develop our practice here. References SELMAS event:



Sailing into Character By Alistair Carter, OYT Scotland and Dr Pete Allison, University of Edinburgh

Character is important – this is hard to dispute. How we develop, nurture or grow character is the subject of more debate. Most of us have experiences that we attribute as important in contributing to who we are and what we hold to be of value. For some people this is related to school and often associated with organisations such as guides and scouts. The importance of character, and more specifically character formation, was recognised by the German / British educator Kurt Hahn. In 1934 he founded Gordonstoun School in Moray and the first two students were sent to build a boat each at the local harbour (Hopeman). After two years the clippers were launched and subsequently used for various journeys. Hahn saw the value of apprenticeship and the collection of different subjects that building boats could bring together. This interdisciplinary approach to learning is something that is now returning to fashion and can be seen as central to, for example, the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence. Hahn saw the experiences of building boats as contributing to character which he saw as important because he had identified five decays in society: 1. The decay of fitness due to our modern methods of locomotion 2. The decay of self-discipline helped by stimulants and tranquillisers 3. The decay of enterprise due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis 4. The decay of skill and care helped by 26 CONFERENCE COMPANION

the decline in craftsmanship 5. Above all the decay of compassion which [Archbishop] William Temple called spiritual death. The first school Hahn started (Salem) was based on seven laws which might also be thought of as seven features of character education: 1. Give children the opportunity for selfdiscovery 2. Make the children meet with triumph and defeat 3. Give the children the opportunity of self-effacement in the common cause 4. Provide periods of silence 5. Train the imagination 6. Make games important but not predominant 7. Free the sons of the wealthy and powerful from the enervating sense of privilege. Hahn subsequently went on to inspire four organisations that all remain concerned with character education in some way or another: Duke of Edinburgh Award, Outward Bound, Round Square Schools, and United World Colleges. Furthermore he inspired the foundation of the Sail Training Association in 1956 which has since developed into Sail Training International who organise tall ships races annually. Sail Training or ‘Education through Sailing’ is a fascinating approach to Character


Education and one which we believe to be worthy of attention. Emerging research on the processes and benefits of sail training relates closely to the seven features of character education that Hahn felt so important. The challenge for a young person of stepping into an environment they do not know, with people they have not met before, learning a new skill and tackling problems in real time without the ability to pause, rewind and try again is part of what makes Sail Training such a unique environment for character education. In Sail Training the task as a whole is very simple: to get one boat and all its crew from point A to point B. What young people learn is that every step involved in this task requires: teamwork, selfmotivation, leadership, compromise, imagination and the ability to make a mistake (in public) before standing-up and trying again. This last skill in particular is something that young people today are getting fewer chances to experience. Young People who take part in Sail Training

discover that not only do they learn skills they associate with sailing – seamanship, leadership and teamwork - but they also develop a much greater understanding of themselves. When on a sail training voyage many young people reach some form of “breakthrough point”, whether it be through tiredness, struggling with a new skill, adjusting to the confined living conditions or working with different personalities. By reaching this point in a public group environment they learn that triumph and defeat go hand in hand. This not only draws the participants closer as a team but also gives the individual young person vital character experiences that are often required in later life. These are experiences and skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or even on social media! In the space of a week these young people will laugh, cry and learn together. It is once they return to their normal environment that they have time to reflect and look back on the experiences and skills they have developed; a vital part of character development.

Why Intellect is not enough to ensure success by Nicola Gibson, University of Aberdeen

I worked in mental health and youth work for about 8 years. During this time, I noticed something about the young people I was working with that I found intriguing: I came across very able young people who struggled to engage with education and work opportunities; similarly, I also met “less able” young people who managed to engage with, navigate and make the most of the

opportunities of education and work so well that they actually did better than their (on paper) more intellectually gifted peers. What was happening here? Why was intellect and ability not enough to ensure all young people succeeded? Exams, aptitude and IQ tests are useful, but can only explain about 30% of future CONFERENCE COMPANION 27


success,[1] so it’s clear that intellect is not the whole story. An interesting picture is starting to emerge from various areas of psychology research, that suggests “non-intellectual” factors might be just as important, and in some cases more important, than things like IQ when it comes to succeeding in education and in working life.[2]

Some “non intellectual” abilities in particular that have been fairly consistently linked to success in learning and occupational environments across several research studies include: 1. Positive “Trait” emotion 2. Persistence 3. Sociability Positive “trait” Emotion Psychology distinguishes between “state” emotions (how you feel on a moment-to-moment basis) and “trait” emotions (how you feel most of the time, overall). Research indicates that there is a strong connection between how positive and happy a person is (their level of “trait” happiness), and how successful they are or are likely to become.[3] Psychological research shows that positive emotions affect the way you think and solve problems; positive moods broaden your attention – you are more aware of things around you, and you tend to engage in more playful and exploratory behaviour[4]. So happiness (or being a positive person) can help you be more resilient and persistent; but it can also help you develop new skills, behaviours and ways of thinking. Barbra Frederickson and colleagues have researched and described these phenomena, and call this pattern of positive emotions helping someone develop new ways of thinking, behaving and solving problems the “Broaden and Build Hypothesis”.[5]

counter difficult or negative experiences. This helps us feel better in the face of challenges, and then we are less likely to give up and more likely to keep trying until we succeed, even in the face of setbacks and difficulty. Therefore, being and feeling positive helps us to learn and develop persistence, as well as useful skills and behaviours. Sociability We are social animals, we live in are social environments, and we usually have to get along with other people to make the most of those environments and do well – whether that’s at school, at work, or at home. Lleras (2008) investigated whether social activity in schools are the same behaviours fostered and encouraged by educational staff and favoured by employers.7 It was found that habits in high school were positively associated with higher occupational earnings and occupational attainment, even when controlling for social class; this suggests personality traits and non-intellectual behaviours play an important role. In particular, being less social in school was associated with lower earnings 9 years later; whereas students with fewer disciplinary problems had higher earnings. Students rated as being more motivated and social completed more education and had higher earnings, even when cognitive ability, and social class were controlled for. Other studies suggest that employers rank attitudes, communication skills, and employer recommendations over years of schooling or grades.[8]


According to Lleras (2008), these individual non intellectual behaviours accounted for 35% of future success and attainment, while intellectual skills accounted for 30%, suggesting that nonintellectual abilities are as, or in some cases, more Important, than intellectual skills. It’s a bit like driving a vehicle, like a sports car; the car is your intellect: It has huge potential, and it can take you to a lot of places, but if you don’t have any keys, and you don’t know how to drive it, you really can’t do very much with it.

Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that positive emotion helps us become more resilient and persistent;6 we can use positive moods to

But the “Broaden and Build” upward spiral of positive emotion, and the skills it helps you develop (like persistence, sociability etc.) are



your set of keys – they help you to “unlock” that potential, so that you continue to learn and acquire a huge range of useful behaviours and skills. As any good scientist will tell you, it’s rarely as straightforward as it appears; this research is really only beginning to scratch the surface. There’s still a lot that we DON’T know: •

How these skills develop over time: When they start to emerge and how they develop and change across childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.9

Exactly how and why they are so beneficial: Are some kinds of social skills more useful than others? Do we use different skills in different contexts? What is happening when we use these skills around other people?

Why do some people develop these skills to a greater extent than others? In all probability, it’s partly down to genetics, partly down to environment and upbringing, and partly down to individual choices, but how much of each?

To what extent can these skills be taught? If upbringing and individual choices make a difference, how and when can we encourage the development of these skills? We also don’t know the extent to which culture plays a part: certain types of social skills might be more beneficial in one culture than another, especially as most of this research has been conducted in America, so it’s not clear how universal the findings are, or whether there might be subtle but important cultural differences.

And that’s why more research is important: the science of understanding more about what kinds of social skills help young people to make the most of their abilities is vital, because if we can understand these things, we can start to teach, encourage and reward these skills, so we can help everyone be at their best, and use their abilities to their full potential; but to do that we need to look at how and when these skills develop, how and why they support learning and success, and the extent to which culture influences what skills are important.

References Lleras, C. (2008). Do skills and behaviours in high school matter? The contribution of noncognitive factors in explaining differences in educational attainment and earnings. Social Science Research. 37, 888 – 902. Doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.03.004 [2] Lleras, C. (2008). Do skills and behaviours in high school matter? The contribution of noncognitive factors in explaining differences in educational attainment and earnings. Social Science Research. 37, 888 – 902. Doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.03.004 [1]

Lounsbury, J.W., Fisher, L.A., Levy, J.J. & Welsh, D.P. (2009). An Investigation of Character Strengths in Relation to the Academic Success of College Students. Individual Differences Research, 7 (1), 52-69. Smrtnik-Vitulic, H. & Zupanic, M. (2011) Personality traits as a predictor of academic achievement in adolescents. Educational Studies, 37 (2), 127 – 140. Doi: 10.1080/03055691003729062 Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?.Psychological Bulletin, 131(6), 803-855. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.6.803


Lyubomirsky, S.,Sheldon, K. M., Schkade, D. (2005) Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9 (2), 111 - 131. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.111 Frederickson, B. L & Branigan, C. (2005) Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thoughtaction repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19(3) 313-332. doi: 10.1080/02699930441000238


Carver, C.S. (2003). Pleasure as a sign you can attend to something else: Placing positive feelings within a general model of affect. Cognition and Emotion, 17 (2) 241-261. doi:10.1080/02699930244000291 Clore, G.L. & Palmer, J. (2009). Affective guidance of intelligent agents: How emotion controls cognition. Cognitive Systems Research, 10 (1), 21-30. Doi: 10.1080/02699930701437931 Dreisbach, G. (2006). How positive affect modulates cognitive control: The costs and benefits of reduced maintenance capability. Brain and Cognition, 60(1), 11-19. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2005.08.003 Duncan, S. & Barrett, L.F. (2007). Affect is a form of cognition: A neurobiological analysis. Cognition & Emotion, 21 (6), 1184 – 1211. Doi: 10.1080/02699930701437931 Schwartz, N. (2002) Situated Cognition and the Wisdom of Feelings: Cognitive Tuning. In L. Feldman Barrett & P. Salovey (eds.)The wisdom in feeling (pp. 144-166) New York, Guilford Press, 2002 Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Damasio, A. (2007). We feel,



therefore we learn: The relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 3-10. doi:10.1111/j.1751-228X.2007.00004.x Frederickson, B. L & Branigan, C. (2005) Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thoughtaction repertoires. Cognition and Emotion, 19(3) 313-332. doi: 10.1080/02699930441000238 [5]

Abe, J.A.A.(2011) Positive emotions, emotional intelligence, and successful experiential learning. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 817 – 822. Doi: 10.1016/j. paid.2011.07.004 Tugade, M.M. & Frederickson, B.L. (2004) Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emotional Experiences.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2) 320-333. doi:10.1037/00223514.86.2.320 [6]

Tugade, M.M & Frederickson, B.L. (2007). Regulation of Positive Emotions: Emotion Regulation Strategies that Promote Resilience. Journal of Happiness Studies, 8. 311333. doi: 10.1007/s10902-006-9015-4 Tugade, M.M., Frederickson, B.L. & Barrett, L. F. (2004) Psychological Resilience and Positive Emotional Granularity: Examining the Benefits of Positive Emotions on Coping and Health. Journal of Personality, 72 (6) 11611190.

Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361-368. Lleras, C. (2008). Do skills and behaviours in high school matter? The contribution of noncognitive factors in explaining differences in educational attainment and earnings. Social Science Research. 37, 888 – 902. Doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.03.004 [7]

[8] Lleras, C. (2008). Do skills and behaviours in high school matter? The contribution of noncognitive factors in explaining differences in educational attainment and earnings. Social Science Research. 37, 888 – 902. Doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.03.004

Stasz, C. (2001). Assessing Skills for Work: two perspectives. Oxford Economic Papers 3, 385 - 405 Isaacowitz, D. M., Vaillant, G. E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2003). Strengths and satisfaction across the adult lifespan. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 57(2), 181[9]

Learning to be Human by Dr Esther Mcintosh

Human beings realize their essential existence as persons by developing their capacity for relationships. An individual can at times be self-interested; the individual is not expected to be always actively considering the other person in the relationship; the individual requires individual space. However, individuality is not the same as individualism. On the contrary, I agree with John Macmurray when he states that ‘Individuality and community are correlatives’ (PC, p. 96). Hence, it is only through the recognition of belonging as well as existing in opposition to others that the individual grows. Moreover, 30 CONFERENCE COMPANION

our ability to sustain relationships in which we can express our individuality is bound up with our emotional development. Thus, while Aristotle insists that the emotions can be trained, Macmurray asserts that ‘What we feel and how we feel is far more important than what we think and how we think’ (Macmurray, 1932, p. 142).

Emotional training, then, does not mean telling children what they ought to feel, just as intellectual training does not mean telling them what they ought to think.


Hence, Macmurray claims that an ‘Emotional education should be ... a considered effort to teach children to feel for themselves; in the same sense that their intellectual training should be an effort to teach them to think for themselves’ (Macmurray, 1935, p. 39). Daniel Goleman argues that a child’s development is affected by EI: ‘emotional intelligence’ (Goleman, 1995, p. xii), often referred to as EQ (emotion quotient), at least as much as it is by their intellectual brilliance. The central components of EQ include: ‘being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to control impulse and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope’ (Goleman, 1995, p. 34). As a concrete example of the effect of emotional maturity on individual growth and relationships, Goleman cites ‘The Marshmallow Test’, which was carried out in the 1960s by the psychologist Walter Mischel (Goleman, 1995, pp. 80-83). You are probably familiar with the details, but I will give you a quick recap to jog your memory. In Mischel’s experiment, children, who were four years old, sat at a table in front of a single marshmallow; they were told that they could eat it immediately, but if they waited for ten minutes (a long time for a four year old), they would be given two marshmallows. Over the next fifteen years the progress of the children was intermittently reassessed. The results showed repeatedly that those who had waited for the second marshmallow were more socially adept and achieved higher academic grades than those who had eaten the single marshmallow; however, these results could not be mapped onto the graph of their IQ scores.

I also want to argue that, if we are to take the emotional education of our children seriously, we must be open to the promotion of emotional sincerity. While various school initiatives, such as circle time, encourage children to listen to others and to talk about their feelings in an open and supportive environment, this positive work is often undermined by playground politics. That is, when children are told they must ‘all play together’, they are being encouraged to express positive feelings towards children they dislike. While Christian motifs of love and forgiveness can be positive, they can also be oppressive, especially when combined with gender inequality and the motif of sacrifice. If we do not allow children to express feelings of love and concern honestly, we are not encouraging them to express their individuality in healthy relationships as adults. In addition, a child’s own sense of wellbeing will flourish in caring relationships, but will be limited in relationships of feigned care and concern. As has been well documented by child abuse studies, children who are taught to kiss and hug adults, such as elderly relatives, when they feel uncomfortable doing so, are more vulnerable in the face of abuse than children who have been given the freedom to only kiss, hug or say “I love you” when they choose to do so. Positive and healthy relationships require both empathy and individuality;

we need to educate children to read both their own and others feelings. CONFERENCE COMPANION 31

Character Conference - Brochure