West Yorkshire Branch Seminar
About the talk
A focus on Aristotle, virtue, and character has recently become more popular within education - as it has across the field of ethics. However, rooted at the heart of an Aristotelian approach to ethics and morality is an internal sense of flourishing that comes from becoming a ‘good’ person, while much of the UK educational endeavour is preoccupied with external goals, such as Ofsted grades and exam results.
The Narnian Virtues Character Education Project is a three year English curriculum for secondary school pupils. Taking up 12 weeks per year, students are asked to engage their analytical skills, they develop through studying literature, to reflect on and develop their own character. In this seminar we will explore how the process of studying literature, empathising with the characters, and then beginning to apply this to their own lives could help students’ character development; but we will also share the difficulties in producing a curriculum committed to the sometimes-nebulous concepts of virtue and character in a core curriculum subject. As part of the session we will also share some of our initial findings from year 1 of the study.
About the speakers
Dr Peter Hart is a research fellow on the Narnian Virtues research Character Education Project at the University of Leeds. Previously a youth worker, he received his PhD in Applied Social Sciences at the University of Durham in 2015, where he used ethnographic methods to study the everyday ethics of the relationship between youth workers and young people. He also sits as the Chair of Directors for a small Multi-Academy Trust.
Professor Mark Pike is the Principle Investigator of the Narnian Virtues Character Education Project and Head of School for the School of Education, University of Leeds. He’s recently authored books on ‘Ethical English’ and ‘Mere Education’, texts which draw together fields of pedagogy, English, and ethics.
Dr Shirley-Anne Paul received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Dundee in 2011. For her PhD she investigated the visual-cognitive processes which underlie written language processing in typical adult readers. Following the completion of her PhD she worked at the University of Edinburgh; first as an ESRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and then as undergraduate Teaching Coordinator in Psychology. In 2013 she joined the University of Leeds to work on a Randomised Controlled Trial of two evidence based interventions to improve the reading skills of pupils following transition into secondary school. She is currently working as Research Fellow on the Narnian Virtues Character Education Project at Leeds.
Tea and coffee provided. There is free parking on campus after 4.30pm. See link below for travel arrangements to and from the university.