Character Education is the subject of one of the reports to come out of the DfE this summer. It is a review of some research into Character Education in Schools. The research poses several questions linked to provision, the role of schools in teaching character, the approaches schools use and the challenges schools face.
Rising Stars provide a very good overview of the findings of the report in their document, DFE Publishes Character Education Report.
Is it necessary to have a separate curriculum pathway called Character Education?
What is education if it is not a part of shaping the individual to be honest, have integrity and a respect for others? All learning should stimulate curiosity and allow for problem solving that creates resilient and motivated learners. There are so many opportunities within the curriculum for learners to debate, focus on moral dilemma, learn self-respect and deepen their sense of fairness in order that they can contribute to society.
Subject specific learning is stuffed full of opportunities for pupils to develop their individual and unique characters. English Literature or History allows us to analyse different characters and their influence on people, time and place. Maths and Science give us an awesome look at how the world is shaped and the part we can play in enjoying it, inventing it or using it. Design, art music or drama provide us with a wealth of opportunities for creativity, expression and individuality. PE and sport develop the bodies and minds of learners and teach them how to win and lose, how to embrace competitiveness and how to be a team player. Both the primary and secondary curriculum have the breadth and depth to encompass character education.
Most of the curriculum is currently taught in chunks, where the learning is not an interwoven tapestry that develops the whole person. There are so many opportunities for pupils to develop a whole range of skills that will ensure they become independent and resilient, open to ideas and full of the possibilities that learning can bring. School, especially upper primary and secondary stages often provides pupils with the facts and information they need to pass tests and examinations. There is no other stage in their lives where they will learn in such small bite size segments that appear to be unconnected.
We don’t need an addition to the curriculum; we need to look at how we can shape the curriculum so that it builds character that will last a lifetime.
If you are planning your CPD strategy or designing the appraisal system for the new academic year you will achieve phenomenal success if you build coaching into the process. Learning is just as important for teachers as it is for pupils. A good teacher never stops learning and relishes any opportunity to be challenged and stretched. Without on-going opportunities for good quality training, classroom practice becomes hackneyed and dull.
Coaching is a process, it requires individuals to learn a suite of skills in order to support others to set their own goals, be clear as to how they will achieve them; have well-defined steps along the way and evaluate their learning at the end of a given period of time. Coaching is non-judgemental and can be the conduit for transformational change.
A coach will never project their own views, direct another or suggest they know best. A coach will facilitate a conversation that requires the other person to soul search, learn from their mistakes, find their own solutions and ultimately make their own decisions about how to create successful outcomes from their stated goals and objectives.
Here at Learning Cultures we have created the most comprehensive coaching programme you could ever wish for. We have not left anyone out. From leaders, managers and Governors to teachers, Cover Supervisors and support staff we have developed training courses and modules that will ultimately deliver a whole school or college coaching culture. We have even included the pupils as potential candidates for coaching in our repertoire.
Training is of little or no value if it is delivered as a stand-alone activity where it is not linked to school improvement, learning goals and individual aspirations. It will have no impact unless the learning is disseminated to others and cascaded successfully. Coaching provides the mechanism for ensuring that there is on-going reflection and professional dialogue linked to learning and the celebration of good and outstanding practice. Plan your CPD using coaching at its heart and you will create outstanding individuals who are highly motivated, understand their own self-worth and who embrace change and challenge.
Or for the latest resources, activities and best practice examples join us for our fourth annual coaching conference. The Power of Coaching at the wonderful Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire on 29th June. You might also like to attend our Leading a Coaching School event at the same venue on Friday 30th June. A veritable extravaganza of coaching training.