Schools are a wonderful place to see generations flourishing together.
A healthy school community embraces the youngest students and their families, right up to grandparents, as well as staff of all ages.
In our schools, we strive to allow all of our students and staff and the wider community involved in the life of a school to experience life in all its fullness.
“… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
Focussing on Generations Together can help our schools thrive, particularly when we reflect on our schools in the context of Character Education.
I have been teaching for over 30 years and I have always been rather passionate about Character Education. Last year, I headed to the US and the UK in pursuit of the latest and greatest research in this area of education. I believe that a focus on Character Education is essential if we don’t wish to let our students down. Excellent Character Education is something that involves all generations working together!
The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues in its Framework for Character Education states, “The development of children’s character is an obligation we all share, not least parents. Whilst parents are the primary educators of their children’s character, empirical research tells us that parents want all adults who have contact with their children to contribute to such education, especially their children’s teachers. The development of character is a process that requires the efforts of the developing individual and the society and its schools. A society determined to enable its members to live well will treat character education as something to which every child has a right.”
Human flourishing or living abundantly is a widely accepted goal of life and as a school or church, we have so many resources available to help us support our students to achieve this goal.
It is through intentional character education that we can allow our students to achieve their highest potential and in turn to contribute to a thriving society.
The Jubilee Centre’s Framework for Character Education recommends that schools “aim to develop confident and compassionate students, who are effective contributors to society, successful learners, and responsible citizens. Students also need to grow in their understanding of what is good or valuable and their ability to protect and advance what is good. They need to develop a commitment to serving others, which is an essential manifestation of good character in action.”
When we think of Generations Together in an educational space, we open up the possibilities through the collective IQ of all involved. We are able to foster unity and community resulting in more opportunities for positive outcomes for all.
“The ultimate aim of character education is not only to make individuals better persons but to create the social and institutional conditions within which all human beings can flourish. Social and institutional conditions of this kind require that all members of the society contribute in ways that collectively provide everyone with opportunities to live well.” (Framework for Character Education. The Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues).
As character can be ‘caught’ as well as ‘taught’, it is vital that all the leaders in our schools have an awareness of ‘character education’.
The Church of England in the UK has already done an enormous amount of work on Character Education in partnership with The Jubilee Centre. They have published, “Leadership of Character Education”, a paper prepared by the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership. https://www.cefel.org.uk/
The Church of England is committed to placing leadership of character education at the heart of any school’s approach to developing and celebrating human flourishing.
“Character education equips young people to grow in wisdom, hope, community and dignity and is shaped by an understanding of God at work in the world…Effective character education will have a legacy far beyond the school gates, impacting young people as friends, neighbours, parents, teams members and employees, benefitting both the individuals themselves, their wider communities and broader society.’ (Leadership of Character Education. The Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership.)
I wonder if our vision of Generations Together will empower our schools to promote the flourishing of individuals, communities, families and societies through the introduction of Character Education.