Character Education in Critical Perspective

Room: 
Room J, City Hall
Time Slot: 
Monday 26th March 16:15 - 17:45
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor Jacqueline Briggs (University of Lincoln)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Ben Kisby (University of Lincoln)
  • Dr Lee Jerome (Middlesex University)
  • Dr James Weinberg (University of Sheffield)
  • Mr Gary Walsh (Independent researcher)

‘Grit’, ‘resilience’ and ‘character’ are buzzwords for a number of politicians, educators and authors. In recent years, ‘character education’ has risen up the political agenda in Britain and elsewhere, as governments and educators have sought to find ways to improve children’s life chances and address various societal challenges. Schools are viewed as having a crucial role to play in improving individual character, and this is regarded as the best means of developing a better society. This panel critically examines the notion of individual character-building, especially as a means of promoting young people’s civic and political knowledge and engagement. It addresses a number of important questions: What are the theoretical ideas underpinning character education? How do British policy-makers understand this form of education? How are these ideas manifested in teaching resources produced by character educators? Can character education contribute to social justice? How is the focus on character impacting on the delivery of citizenship lessons in schools? And what is the appropriate relationship between citizenship and character? The key underlying question the panel addresses is: How can schools best prepare young people for their roles as citizens in the contemporary world?