Character development is an important part of student flourishing and an overarching purpose of education. In this way, the realization of each students’ human potential is a necessary educational endeavor towards both moral and academic ends. Teachers instinctively share this view and are often motivated to take up a career in teaching so that their students can develop capacities for living well in addition to achieving academically.
Good character has intrinsic worth involving meaning, purpose, hard work and striving for excellence in several important domains, such as intellectual, moral, civic and performance virtues. Although children are born with capacity to acquire virtue, as integral to character, this requires conscious effort by those around them if it is to fully develop. In addition to appropriate experiences and relationships, this invariably involves exposure to good role models and exemplars.
Teachers in a school, together with other adult staff, need to lead by example in terms of moral character. After a brief overview of what character is from a virtue ethics perspective, Dr. Walker will cover the following: a.) the development of the teachers own moral character (practical wisdom or prhonesis) and b.) how the teachers and school community can cultivate character in students?